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  • Cashewnut board meets in Lindi Region to discuss development of crop

    Aug 27th, 2015

    The Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) has organised a two-day stakeholders’ meeting to be held at the end of this week in Lindi Municipality, it has been revealed.  According to the Board’s Director General, Mfaume Mkanachapa, the meeting scheduled for Friday will discuss the development of the crop.

    However the total number of participants would not be known, but, he said, the board has already invited stakeholders in respect of the Cashewnut Act No. 18 of 2009. Experts say, despite its importance, the contribution of cashewnut to the economy is still too low as compared to that of other countries. CBT reports that Tanzania in 2012 produced about 158,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts. Out of this 88 per cent were exported as raw nuts, while 12 per cent was processed internally, leaving a lot of value added and employment opportunities with the importing countries.

    Cashewnuts provide an important source of income for over 250,000 smallholder farmers in Tanzania.  Speaking in a dialogue held mid this year in Mtwara, small scale cashewnut farmers were quoted as saying they now don’t root for open dialogue platforms at district and regional levels in an effort to increase local processing and marketing of the crop. It is on this ground that local small scale processors agreed that there was considerable income being lost in exporting unprocessed nuts.

    Many participants were of the view that farmers should resort to selling processed nuts rather than raw cashew that earn them very less money compared to the processed ones. They argued that there was a potential market for the processed nuts compared to the raw ones sold through the government’s compulsory procedure of warehouse receipt system (WRS). According to the farmers, a kg of raw cashewnut earns them 5000/- in return while the same quantity of processed nuts is sold at between 12,000/- and 16,000/-.

    “The margin is quite big and that is why we now campaign that farmers should stop selling the produce raw and resort to processing, mostly in groups to reduce the burden,” said Tumpale Magehema of Ruangwa District in Lindi Region.

    She said they currently have 33 groups in the district which process cashewnut, pack and sell to both local and international market. Magehema, who is an official in the group, added that it was not easy to bring small farmers together and form the groups but after a serious educational campaign, farmers have realised the importance of selling processed nuts. Juma Sadiki of Nachingwea had the same opinion, noting that the government needs to empower small scale processors.  He said initially there were 30 groups of small scale processors, but the number has increased to 50 in the last season.

    “Farmers in Nachingwea, Lindi Region have realised the benefits of selling processed nuts and are grouping to increase productivity but the biggest challenge remains lack of finance,” he noted.

    He pointed out that at district level, the authority needs to ensure that every ward was provided with small processing plants to increase productivity and by so doing municipal authorities would get more money in levies.

    But this, according to Sadiki, should go hand in hand with educating farmers on the importance of forming small processors groups. Tanzania is Africa’s largest cashew nut grower after Mozambique and Ivory Coast, and the world’s eighth biggest producer.