A total of 1,865 tonnes and 597 kilograms of cashew nut that were earmarked for sale at the first auction by Lindi Mwambao Cooperative Union (IMCU) was not sold following farmers rejecting the low prices from the firms present at the auction.
The cashew nuts are in three warehouses – Nangurukuru in Kilwa District warehouse has 702 tonnes and 492 kilos; warehouse for the Treasury Registrar for Mtama District Council had 696 tonnes and 606 kilos, and BUCO warehouse in Lindi Municipality had 502 tonnes and 499 kilos.
Twelve firms emerged to buy the cashew nuts at the auction held at Nachunyu village, Nachunyu Ward, but the highest price was 2,275/- and the lowest was 2,010/- per kilo that were rejected by farmers as being too low, saying the prices do not consider production costs incurred.
Presentation on dissatisfaction to the Tanzania cashew Board (TCB), district authorities and CCM officials from Dar es Salaam who attended the auction, the farmers said due to high production costs they were not ready to sell their crop at the given prices.
Speaking on behalf of fellow farmers, Maimuna Yusufu, Halidi Selemani, Juma Dadi and Rehema Hemedi said they faced numerous cultivation challenges including production costs in weeding the farms, availability of inputs, spraying, picking and transport to the primary cooperative societies (AMCOS).
They said due to challenges in cashew nut growing and the low price offered by buyers, they said they were being discouraged to involve themselves in cashew nuts farming.
“A litre of spray chemical is sold at 50,000/- and that excludes other costs in the spraying work, payment to cashew nuts pickers and transport from farms,’ they said.
They further said selling the crop at 2,275/- per kilo is to continue working for nothing, taking into consideration that the amount faces a host deductions including AMCOS levies, warehouse charges, education fund, TARI and others.
In the circumstances, Lindi District Commissioner, who was representing Regional Commissioner Zainab Telak told the farmers that they respect their decision, adding that the auction will be set for another date, and in case the situation will not change, they will know what step to take to rescue them.