The government is currently discussing with a foreign investor seeking to construct cashew nut processing plants in a move to boost its production and to fetch better prices in the world market.
The strategy will also increase employment opportunities and the value of cashew nuts before being exported or consumed in the local market.
Christopher Chiza the Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives revealed this yesterday in Dar es Salaam when briefing reporters on the talks between the government and the investor.
“We are still discussing with the investor on areas where he has primarily insisted to invest in. The investor is currently conducting feasibility study in various regions before signing the Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of the plants,” he said refusing to disclose the name or company of the investor.
According to the Minister the country exports over 90 percent of unprocessed cashew nuts abroad due to lack of processing factories in the country.
He said the 2012 cashew nuts statistics indicate that at least 127 tonnes out of 154 tonnes of cashew nuts vended during the season were not processed.
“We have problems with our national investors. Most of them face acute shortage of capital which in turn makes them fail to compete with foreign investors,” he said adding that the government is working on possible mechanisms to restore the cashew nut board.
In his argument, he said despite the government’s introduction of export levy on traders vending unprocessed cashew nuts, the business has never decelerated and has in turn failed to benefit farmers.
He said the only way to enable farmers benefit from their hard work is by utterly banning the exportation of unprocessed cashew nuts.
“They will benefit if the system is applied. But again the government has introduced the cooperation Act, 2013 to replace that of 2003 which had loopholes in terms of monitoring the business of crops in the country,” noted minister Chiza.