By ALVAR MWAKYUSA, 10th May 2011 @ 12:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 4142
CASHEWNUT production in Tanzania has increased to 120,000 tonnes during 2010/2011 season, up from 75,000 tonnes during the 2009/2010 season, the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) has announced.
The CBT Acting Board of Directors Chairman, Mr Hemed Mkali said in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday that as a result, the government has earned 22bn/- in revenues compared to 5bn/- it earned in the previous season.
"Farmers have also benefited as a kilogramme of raw cashewnut increased to between 1,000/- and 1,500/- from 800/- during the last season," he said during an exclusive interview.
Mr Mkali, however, said there is a need to revamp defunct cashewnut processing factories to enable the nuts be processed locally and attract higher prices. At present, 80 per cent of Tanzania's raw cashewnuts are exported to India.
Most of the former state-owned factories that have been privatized are not functioning, according to Mr Mkali.
"I also call upon farmers and other stakeholders to set up mini-processing plants in their co-operatives.
Through value addition we will be able to reduce the amount of raw cashewnut that is exported and also fetch higher prices," explained the CBT Acting Board Chair.
With the restoration of the defunct factories and setting up of new smaller plants, he said the country will be able to generate reasonable job opportunities and foreign exchange earnings.
He said Tandahimba District in Mtwara region was the leading producer during the season, but he was not in a position to state how much was produced in the district.
Regions known for cashewnut growing include Mtwara, Lindi, Coast, Ruvuma and Dar es Salaam. Production in Coast region has, however, been dwindling over the years as farmers seem to lose interest in the crop.
"Farmers in Coast should wake up to improve production of cashewnut. They should not let the crop to collapse like coconuts," he implored.
During the current season, farmers in the region produced only 9,000 tonnes of the total 120,000 tonnes.
He urged farmers to embark on weeding and spraying of pesticides ahead of harvest in early September.
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