NMB boss calls on govt to ban raw cashew exports

21Jun 2016
Victor Karega
The Guardian
NMB boss calls on govt to ban raw cashew exports

National Microfinance Bank Plc CEO and Managing Director Ineke Bussemaker has called on the government to ban raw cashew exports and instead process it in the country for the development of the sector.

Ineke Bussemaker

The move, she said, will increase economic value, protect farmers from exploitation by middlemen and enhance private investment. She urged the government to put in place a consistent and coherent strategy in the value chain by investing in research for the growth of the sector that supports the livelihood of thousands of Tanzanians.

“I think the government whose development agenda is hinged on an industrialized economy, is missing an investment opportunity in encouraging the export of raw cashew nuts. Instead, it should process cashews in the country. By having its own its own cashew processing plant capabilities in Tanzania, it will be able to create jobs and add value to processed cashew for the benefit of famers and the country”, she advised.

Bussemaker pointed out that Tanzania had great opportunities for economic growth, citing lack of execution as the biggest challenge to making the opportunities a reality. The other bottlenecks to doing business, she said, were the complicated taxation system and the high costs that investors incur in starting businesses.

To mitigate the situation, Bussemaker said the government should provide tax incentives to prospective investors that are keen on putting in multi-million dollar investments in the country. The NMB boss explained that investment in the cashew nut sector is critical because of the growing demand for the world’s favourite nut.

Tanzania produces between 150,000 and 200,000 metric tonnes of the nut, which is exported in raw form, thus denying the producers the much-needed income.
According to Cashew nut Board of Tanzania (CBT), the farmers received relatively handsome prices for their crop, ranging between 2,400/- and 2,900/-per kilogram in the just-ended season.

“Growers through the warehouse receipt system have received commendable prices this season compared to their counterparts outside the system, who have sold their produce at 2,000/-,” CBT Director General Mfaume Juma said.

The cashew nut, tea and coffee sectors, she said, have the potential to create jobs through value chain addition. However, they have been dogged by capacity constraints and lack of marketing direction.

Bussemaker noted that if the government would implement sound and sustainable agricultural practices, local cashew growers would increase yields and feed the processing plants.

Overall, Tanzania needed to invest heavily on infrastructure development such as roads and railways and also invest in human resources so as to have a skilled workforce, she summed up.