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  • Tanzania: Now Cashews Verification, Payment Deadline Is Feb 15

    Feb 5th, 2019

    The government has extended the deadline for the verification exercise involving cashew nut farmers before they can be paid for their produce to February 15, 2019. Speaking to cashew nut stakeholders in Mtwara Region on January 27, 2019, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa directed that the verification should be concluded by today, February 5, 2019. 

    Earlier on, President John Magufuli had directed that all cashew nut consignments brought up for sale must have been verified - and the farmers involved paid their sale proceeds in full - by or before January 31, 2019. This latest deadline extension was announced in the National Assembly meeting in Dodoma yesterday by the deputy minister for Agriculture, Omary Mgumba, during the ongoing parliamentary session.

    The deadline extension was necessitated by the fact that thousands of tonnes of cashew nuts worth billions of shillings were yet to be verified, and thousands of farmers are yet to be cleared for payment. Mr Mgumba was responding to a question by the Kawe constituency lawmaker Halima Mdee (Chadema) who sought to know when all the farmers would be paid. Ms Mdee also wanted to know the total quantity and value of cashew nuts that the government had bought from farmers. On Saturday, Agriculture Minister Japheth Hasunga said the Cereals and Other Produce Board (CPB) had already verified cashew nuts worth Sh442.9 billion in total.

    But his deputy, Mr Mgumba, said only Sh424.8 billion had been paid to 390,466 farmers for 134,535.9 tonnes which had been verified January 30, 2019. Mr Mgumba also said that at least Sh707. 1 billion was initially allocated for the purchase of 214,269.7 tonnes of cashew nuts during the January 1st deadline. In any case, it was earlier projected that 240,000 tonnes of cashew nuts would be produced in the 2018/19 harvest season.

    Responding to a supplementary question by Ndanda MP Cecil Mwambe who wanted to know why some farmers were paid lower prices than the Sh3,300 per kilo announced earlier by President Magufuli, Mr Mgumba said the price of Sh2,640 was paid for nuts below the standard Grade One quality.

    "It is globally acknowledged that Grade-B cashew nuts are bought at 80 per cent of the Grade One price. We have informed farmers and stakeholders about the matter," Mr Mgumba said. Apparently, grading and proper sorting of the merchandise guarantees quality of the Tanzanian product. , thus avoiding export consignments being found with impurities at destination, thus tarnishing the country's image.