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EDITORIAL: CASHEW NUTS BECOMING A GAME CHANGER IN TANZANIA

Saturday April 03 2021

The cashew nuts sub-sector is steadily proving to be an important game changer for both cashew farmers and the economy of Tanzania in general.

Cashew nuts are the most exported cash crop in Tanzania today. For example, exports of the crop in 2019 generated $353.1 million in foreign/hard currency, prompting the government to seek to triple cashew nuts production over the next four-to-five years.

As it is, production of the crop had grown by about 50 percent in four years, increasing from 155,200 tonnes in 2015 to 232,700 tonnes in 2019 – and was estimated to reach 300,000 tonnes or thereabouts by 2020.

Currently, most of the cashew nuts production in Tanzania is concentrated in the Coast, Lindi, Ruvuma and Mtwara regions, which account for over 80 percent of total annual production – mostly by smallholder farmers operating at the subsistence level.

However, things are changing for the better – what with improved hybrid seed varieties that eventually result in bigger, premium-quality cashew nuts, and which are already working wonders for some farmers.

According to the Naliendele Centre of the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute, the Institute has already developed 54 improved cashew seed varieties on seed farms across the land, the results of which “revolutionise productivity of the crop.”

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As we reported in these pages on Thursday (April 1, 2021), the new seed varieties have the ability to boost nuts productivity by up to 20 kilogrammes per cashew tree per year – and with about 100 or less nuts weighing a kilo, instead of the customary 200 nuts or so.

This, together with government plans to expand and extend cashews farming to other regions of the United Republic – ecologies permitting – should be a game changer for both cashew farmers and the national economy.

It is, therefore, no wonder that cashew nut farmers and processors are already upbeat over the new seed varieties.


GET IT DONE, SIMBA!

Tanzania’s Simba Sports Club today at 4pm local time play DRC’s AS Vita Club in a Groups stage match at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam in the ongoing African Champions League.

Simba only need one point (a draw) to qualify for the quarterfinals of the competition.

On the other hand, victory for AS Vita would propel the Kinshasa-based club to the same quarterfinals stage, and may throw out the Tanzanian club.

If nothing else, this is an indication that the match will be hard-fought, with each team seeking to qualify for the quarterfinals.

In any case, Simba are at the top of Group A with 10 points after winning three matches and drawing one, while AS Vita are placed third with four points.

Today’s match is also regarded as an opportunity for AS Vita to avenge for losing their first-leg match played at their home ground in Kinshasa, which they lost to Simba by one goal to zero (1-0) last March.

In the event, Simba players must play in today’s deciding match with determination to win it on their home turf at best – or, at the very least, to end it in a draw.

So, Tanzanians wish their home club team the very best in elevating Tanzanian soccer.