IT’s a new dawn for cashew nut growers in the country, with plans underway to restore domestic processing of all produced nuts through revival of all dormant plant and establishing new ones.
The export of raw cashew nuts will therefore cease soon, and instead, local industries take over as consumers of the raw cashew nuts. It’s a pity that about 90 per cent of all cashew nuts is exported in raw form, mostly to India, fetching extremely low prices as compared to processed produce.
The revival and establishment of cashew industries will boost value addition to the produce, benefiting both farmers and government. The good thing is that Tanzania has huge potential to expand production and increase productivity.
Tanzanian farmers, cashew nut growers included, have for years been complaining of low and unsteady prices on the cash crop, always dictated by the world market. The low prices aside, exports of raw cashew nuts imply surrendering potential jobs for Tanzanians to foreigners, abroad.
Reports therefore that Vietnamese companies have expressed interest to build new cashew processing plants and revive idle processors, are highly amusing. According to Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Charles Mwijage, the Vietnamese investors aim at boosting cashew nut production in Tanga, Lindi, Mtwara and other regions with potential for the crop.
With new investors having reportedly promised to offer training and encourage production, we firmly believe that the revival and establishment of the plant will rekindle the country’s cashew sector.
Obviously, the Vietnamese investors’ plans are in line with the government’s drive to build up an industrial based economy. Because, it’s through blossoming agro-processing industries that the country will easily realise its goals.
According to the Cashew nut Board of Tanzania (CBT), Tanzania produces averagely 130,000 tonnes of cashew nuts annually, with 117,000 tonnes exported to India.
A 2013 report of the World Cashew Nut Alliance says African cashew nut producers had set a target of processing raw cashew nuts by 50 per cent by 2020.
The report indicates that most of producers from African countries sell raw cashew nuts by 90 per cent in India and Vietnam.
In this regard, any idea to process cashew nuts within African countries must be warmly welcomed, taking into account that the processing helps to revolutionise the agriculture sector, with special emphasis on cashew nut growing.
Cashew nut is Tanzania second forex earner, after tobacco.