Focus on value-addition to gain most from farming

Monday March 23 2020

 

More and more industrialisation opportunities are opening up in this day and age of rapid technological advances that include agro-processing and other value-addition activities

‘Agro-processing’ refers to the subset of industrial manufacturing that processes raw materials and intermediate products which are derived from the agricultural sector of the economy.

In more-or-less similar vein is ‘value addition.’ Usually, this refers to the processes and/or activities by which value is added to an item such as agricultural produce – thereby enhancing its market value at the end of the proverbial day.

Hence the term ‘value chain.’ This is a business model that describes a set or range of functional processes and/or activities which are conducted in efforts to deliver more valuable products, usually in the forms of goods or services.

This being the case, we are truly concerned that Tanzania continues to lose – for lack of a better term – lose a lot by failing to process and otherwise add value to much of our agricultural produce.

Today, we specifically have in mind here the cashews subsector.

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As we reported in these pages yesterday, cashew farmers mainly see value in the nuts only, routinely discarding other cashew parts – including the shells and apples – as waste. In reality, though, these cashew parts can be used in the production of other valuables.

Because this is not happening domestically, farmers and the economy lose anything from Sh22.8 trillion to 31.8 trillion yearly for failing to process and add value to the cashews’ apples alone to produce wines and juices. This is to say nothing of the lubricants, resins and plastics that can be manufactured from cashew shells – as well as gum made from the stems!

What the country has always needed is functional investment in the requisite technologies and related manufactories if Tanzanian farmers and the economy are to fully benefit from Agriculture.