Cashew production up by 14pc

CASHEWNUT production has increased by 14 per cent in the past two years following various steps taken by the government and other stakeholders to boost the crop farming.

According to Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) Director General Mr Francis Mwakabumbe, the production of raw cashews has increased from 210,786.804 tonnes in 2020/2021 to 240,158.752 tonnes in 2021/2022, equivalent to 14 per cent.

Speaking to ‘Daily News’ the CBT DG said that the number of cashew-growing regions has increased to 17 something that led to an increase in production.

“Currently, there are 17cashew-growing regions in addition to the  traditional regions of  Mtwara, Lindi, Ruvuma,  Coast  and Tanga while the new cashew-growing regions  include  Singida, Morogoro, Mbeya, Dodoma, Njombe, Iringa, Katavi, Songwe, Tabora, Kigoma, Shinyanga and Kilimanjaro,” he highlighted.

The leading regions for raw cashew production in the country with their production share in brackets are Mtwara 54 per cent, Lindi 28 per cent, Ruvuma 11 per cent and Coast 7 per cent.

According to Mr Mwakabumbe, about 90 percent of cashews currently produced are exported while in their raw form.

He said the main markets for raw cashews are India and Vietnam. In addition, the remaining 10 per cent of the cashews produced in the country are sold in various countries in the world, especially the United States, Europe, Africa and the local market.

In the 2021/2022 harvesting season, out of 240,158 tonnes produced, a total of 208,375 tonnes were exported in raw form during the period from January to September, 2022, with 112,093 tonnes being exported to Vietnam and 96,282 tonnes   sold to India.

Mr Mwakabumbe further said that Cambodia and Ivory Coast are main competitors of Tanzania in the international market whereby for the period between January and September 2022 a total of 721,831 tonnes were exported from Ivory Coast to India and Vietnam while a total of 358,118 tonnes were exported from Cambodia to Vietnam at the same time.

The domestic market for cashew products is not so robust because Tanzanians do not have the culture of consuming cashewnuts nor using products derived from cashews raw materials.

He said efforts are however ongoing to encourage consumption of cashews and the use of cashew products so as to expand domestic market.

The DG further noted that in an effort to ensure that the indigenous cashewnut seed is not replaced with foreign ones which have a different taste, there have been various strategies carried out by the government including increasing the production centres of quality cashew seed under TARI- Naliendele which have the capacity to produce an average of 100 tonnes, equal to 15 million seedlings per year.

Mr Mwakabumbe further said that they also distributed quality cashew seedlings to farmers free of charge; provide education on good cashew cultivation methods as well as cashew nut quality control methods through extension officers,farmers and other stakeholders.

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