Dar es Salaam. The first cashew nut auction in Lindi Region organised by Lindi Mwambao yesterday saw 200 tonnes traded out of 6,600 tonnes offered for sale.
The slow start was also witnessed in first auctions in Tandahimba and Masasi districts where a total of 2,341 tonnes were traded out of 16,000 tonnes offered.
Regional authorities said it was too early to be worried about the trend. The registrar of cooperative societies in Lindi Region, Mr Robert Nsunza, told The Citizen yesterday that 100 tonnes were bought by one company while others purchased 50 tonnes each.
A total of 2,541 tonnes of cashews have been traded in two regions out of 22,600 tonnes offered for auctioning. On Friday, Tandahimba and Newala Cooperative Union traded 2,141 tonnes out of 7,000 tonnes.
Masasi and Mtwara Cooperative Union sold 200 tonnes out of 10,000 tonnes on sale.
However, over 20,000 tonnes of cashew nuts have remained in the farmers’ hands.
But, Mtwara regional commissioner Gelasius Byakanwa said it was too early to be worried.
“We should wait for the second and third rounds for a comprehensive assessment to establish the exact trend on the business,” he said over phone.
Agriculture minister Charles Tizeba told farmers in Tandahimba that what was important was the start of auctions at the minimum price directed by the government.
He said price fluctuations in the world market were normal globally, noting that coffee and cocoa growers were facing a similar challenge.
He assured farmers that the government was making efforts to protect them.
Cashew auctions have resumed across the country following President John Magufuli’s directives that it the minimum price be Sh3,000 a kilo.
Earlier, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa suspended auctions after farmers boycotted, citing low prices in Tandahimba, Masasi and Nachingwea districts.
Studies consistently show that nut intake has a cholesterol-lowering effect, in the context of healthy diets, and there is emerging evidence of beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity.