Mtwara. The government has promised to complete paying cashew farmers the remaining Sh59 billion from the 2018/19 season by October 30.
The promise was made on Monday, October 7, 2019, by deputy minister for Agriculture Omary Mgumba when opening the cashew nut stakeholder’s meeting taking place in Mtwara.
Speaking during the event, Mr Mgumba said the government was also in the process of paying Sh24 billion to service providers as well as servicing Sh9 billion to producers of cashew seedlings across the country.
“I’m aware that farmers are eager to hear the government’s statement on payments for the 2018/19 which are in arrears. Therefore, I would like to assure you that all cashew farmers would be paid by October 30, 2019,” he said.
According to him over 220,000 tonnes of cashews was purchased by the government in the 2018/19 season worth Sh722 billion, noting that Sh663 billion had been paid to farmers who still claim Sh59 billion in outstanding balances.
He said during the 2017/18 the government earned $575million (Sh1.3 trillion) from Cashew nuts, which is equivalent to revenue total collected from coffee, tea and tobacco.
“It is due to this importance, the government bought the produce at Sh3, 300 per kg after buyers offer low prices during the inaugural auction.
He reiterated that the government had no intention to purchase cashews during the 2019/20 season, refuting claims he attributed to social media that the Cereals and Other Produce Board (CPB) would purchase the produce on behalf of the government.
According to him, study carried by the Cashew nut Board of Tanzania (CBT), this season shows that cashew production was expected to be 290,000 tonnes in the 2019/20.
"We have suspended cashew trading through the Tanzania Mechanitile Exchage (TMX) for the 2019/20 season pending provision of education to various stakeholders," he said, adding.
"TMX officials have been directed to all cashew growing regions and meet with regional administration for provision of eduction which will then be extended to grassroots levels."
He said the five-year cashews development plan aimed to increase production to one million tonnes by 2023/2024 significantly to benefit farmers and the country at large.