CASHEWNUT Board of Tanzania will provide projections of cashew production for the new season from April this year to give correct data to the market players.
The board’s Acting Director General Mr Dunstan Kaijage said in a telephone interview from Mtwara that the projections would be ready after engaging and getting data from extension officers in the cashew producing regions.
“We will start collecting and compiling cashew production data from the extension officers in order to provide output projections for the new season,” he said. Projections for the previous season put the country’s cashew nut production to over 200,000 tonnes.
Mr Kaijage said the board would soon start coordinating the distribution of farm inputs to cashew farmers as preparation for the coming season.
“We will engage all key players in the distribution of farm inputs to farmers in cashewnut producing regions,” he added.
The government made a bold decision to purchase all cashew nut from farmers at the price of 3,300/- following the crop buyers reluctance to increase price reportedly leading to nearly 10 per cent rise in global price of cashew nuts.
Growers of cashews, the most valuable export crop for the East African nation, had been holding back from selling after prices fell below what they said it cost them to produce.
Reuters news agency reported in November last year the price of the commodity has risen to $3.80 per pound from $3.50 in the last seven to ten days, quoting Michael Stevens, a commodities trader at Scotland-based Freeworld Trading.
Global kernel prices hit a high of $4.8 per pound at the beginning of the year, but as demand from the United States and Europe fell, they declined to $3.2 in October, an analyst at Cashewinfo, an India-based industry research organisation, said. He said the price was currently around $3.8-3.9 per pound.
In the United States and Europe, cashew kernels compete with other nuts, like almonds and pistachios. With every increase in cashew prices relative to other nuts, its usage in snacks starts falling.
Snacks account for over 60 per cent of the demand for cashews, the analyst said. The government struck a deal with a Kenyan-registered firm, Indo Power Solutions Ltd, for the purchase of 100,000 tonnes of cashew nut product last month.