Last season, Tanzania’s cashew nut production was 265,000 tonnes but the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania director general Mr Jarufu Mkuruge says it may rise to between 350,000 and 400,000 tonnes this season.
Dar es Salaam. Production of cashew nuts is expected to increase by as much as 50 per cent in the current harvesting season after positive market responses that led to the doubling of prices last year.
Last season, Tanzania’s cashew nut production was 265,000 tonnes but the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania director general Mr Jarufu Mkuruge says it may rise to between 350,000 and 400,000 tonnes this season. “When the prices improved last season farmers increased production and the government supported them with farming inputs. We see production improvement as prices are also increasing,” says Mr Mkuruge in a telephone interview.
Cashew nut is one of the leading traditional exports but it’s mainly exported in raw form.
In the year ending May 2017, cashew nuts exports improved to $340.9 million from $186.3 million recorded in May 2016, according to the Bank of Tanzania. The improvement was due to increase in both volume and price.
In the last harvesting season, the price increased to Sh3,800 per raw kilogramme compared with Sh1,250 recorded during the 2015 harvesting season, thanks to improved markets and supervision.
In this season, the prices are rang ing between Sh3,800 and Sh4,065 per kilogramme, signaling yet another yielding bonanza for cashew nut farmers. “I wish every farmer could bring their stocks out for auction before December so that they enjoy good prices as most buyers are targeting Christmas and New Year festivals. In January, they may also shift to West African countries whose season starts in January,” added Mr Mkuruge.
International buyers include those from Vietnam and India.
Leaders of cooperative unions say it’s too early to assess the production potentials but generally they see a renewed awareness in farming cashew nuts.
“The market improvement has really increased the importance of cashew nut farming with many people participating now,” says the manager of Tandahimba and Newala Cooperative Union (Tanecu) Mr Mohamed Nassoro. According to him, the main challenge has been on the requirement for all payments to be made through banks.
The buyers pay to a collection account managed by cooperative union and the money is distributed to Agricultural Marketing Co-operative Societies (AMCOS) which provide cheques to individual farmers for payment through banks.
“This process delays payment for about two weeks to reach the individual farmers. Unfortunately, some farmers also do not have bank accounts and alternatively seek support even from their friends,” said Mr Nassoro.
Tanzania has the best cashew nut variety in the world which should be supported by processing factories but the main challenge with it it’s mostly exported in raw.
Mr Mkuruge says for instance, out of the 83 buyers licenced for this season, only seven of them will export the processed cashew.
Tanzania plans to build three cashew nut processing factories in Mtwara, Tunduru and Mkuranga through financing of Cashewnut Industry Development Trust Fund - CIDTF - an independent body incorporated under the provisions of Trustees’ Incorporation Act (2002).