SIX local and foreign firms have expressed interests to purchase 225,800 metric tonnes of raw cashew nut which were purchased by the government through the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) in the last harvesting season.
Industry and Trade Minister, Mr Joseph Kakunda, told a news conference yesterday that one of the firms has already inspected the cash crop in the warehouses and conducted quality tests at the Tanzania Bureau of Standard (TBS) which proved that the crop was of high quality. “The interested company also sent samples of the nuts to laboratories abroad and the results were the same.
We have already entered into initial agreements with the companies. The consignment will be sold to the bidder at the agreed market payments,” he explained. Between December 20, 2018 and May 15, this year, 34 companies had written to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Director General of the Cereals and Other Produce Board (CPB) seeking information on the produce.
The Minister noted further that 2,200 tonnes of cashew nut have undergone the first stage of processing, which involved removing of the shells, while 360 tonnes are ready for consumption after having undergone the whole processing.
“The 2,2OO metric tonnes were processed locally through special arrangements with the cashew nut processing plants,” the minister told journalists at the news conference. Meanwhile, Mr Kakunda took issues with some lawmakers, who accused former Minister for Justice and Constitution Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, for allegedly misleading President John Magufuli that a Kenyan company had shown interest in buying 100,000 tonnes of cashew nut from Tanzania.
In his contribution to the budget estimates for the Ministry of Industry and Trade for financial year 2019/2020, the shadow minister in the docket, Mr Anthony Komu (Moshi Rural-Chadema), accused Prof Kabudi for allegedly misleading the President.
This is after Prof Kabudi, currently the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, was among the witnesses at the signing ceremony for cashew nut of purchase agreement between Indo- Power Solutions of Kenya and CPB.
The agreement was inked on January 1, this year, for 100,000 tonnes of cashew nuts, but the Kenyan failed to honour the agreement even after asking for extension of the payment period for several times.
“Prof Kabudi and Prof Florens Luoga (the Governor of Bank of Tanzania) were not part of the negotiation team for the agreement. I am the one who invited them at the signing ceremony,” the minister explained.
He explained further that even as the company failed to make payments for the produce, the government had conducted a due diligence and confirmed that it was a genuine registered company.