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  • Vietnam cashewnut farmers outperform Tanzanian counterparts

    Mar 14th, 2016

    In 1974, Vietnam deployed a group of its young people to come to Tanzania, and learn how to make cashew nut seedling from some of the Tanzania agricultural research institutes, one of them being the Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute in Mtwara.

    At Naliendele, they were taught how to make seedling and on how to plant cashew nut crop-which is one of the traditional crops in Mtwara and other regions along the Indian Ocean.

    Again in 1975, the Vietnamese government sent another group of young people to Tanzania to come and learn on how to process cashew nut into kernels from the Tanzanian industries. On returning back home those young Vietnamese imparted the skills and knowledge they had got to their citizens.

    To date, findings indicate that Vietnam is one of the leading countries globally for exporting cashew nut, while Tanzania is still lagging behind.

    Cashew nut is among the major cash crops in Tanzania. However, market prices have shown downward trend discouraging smallholder farmers to increase production.

    Presenting a paper on the opportunities of cashew nut industry in the country during the Tanzania-Vietnam business forum, last week in Dar es salaam, organised by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), in collaboration with the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Director General of Cashew nut Board of Tanzania (CBT) Mfaume Juma said that the country used to produce over 20 percent of global production in the 1970s peaking at 145,000 metric tons in 1974.

    However, due to various factors, “Our shares in the world market declined and led us to low production,” he noted. Juma said that since the trend had been changing year after year, in 2012, the production regained and they had a climax production of 158 metric tons countrywide.

    Wonderful enough, in the year 2014/15, ‘we got a new record in the cashew nut production, when we produced around 200, 000 metric tons countrywide,” he boasted.

    For higher cashew nut production in the near future, Juma further noted that one of their plans was to expand more areas of production from the traditional ones. “We have been informing our farmers to increase acreages of production to new areas where there is an arable land,” he explained.

    However, other school of thought have argued that Tanzania has a lot to learn from Vietnam if it wanted to produce high yields of cashew nut crop. They say in 1970s both Tanzania and Vietnam sailed in the same boat. In the sense that their level of their developments were in the same level; and by that time both countries were known as low income countries.

     “It is high time for the investors especially from Vietnam to seriously think about investing in the cashew nut industry in a quest to enhance 100 percent processing in Tanzania.”

     According to Global Cashew nut Industry Report, World raw cashew nut (RCN) production in 2004 was estimated to be around 2.08 million tons from a total area of 3.06 million hectares.

    Vietnam, India, Brazil, Nigeria and Tanzania accounted to 80 per cent of global output. In 2004, Vietnam topped global production with 0.64 million tons which is 30 per cent of global production, followed by India (0.5 million tons) and Brazil (0.22 million tons) in the second and third position respectively.

    African countries produce one-third of the world’s raw cashew nuts, but 95 per cent of Africa’s production is currently being exported abroad for processing. Tanzania and Guinea-Bissau are the largest producers of cashew nuts in Africa, each accounting for eight per cent of the world’s production.

    The traditional cashew nut production areas in Tanzania include Mtwara, Lindi, Coast, Dar es Salaam and Tanga regions. And the new regions where the Board was eyeing to expand the production of cashew nut for higher yields, intended for exportation are Dodoma, Singida, Morogoro, Mbeya, Ruvuma, and Iringa, among others, where ample land is available for large-scale farms.

    Tanzania has a potential in increasing production and processing capacities internally due to: Availability of ample land for farm expansion, attractive farm gate prices given to the farmers through WRS, market opportunities provided by seasonality influences, and there are prospects for increased processing in the country as more small, medium, and large scale factories are being established in the localities.

    Regarding growth prospects, Juma noted that area under cashew nut production is significantly expanding as the crop is being planted in the new areas; rigorous support given to the farmers through effective distribution of improved seed varieties which has increased acreages under cashew production; enhanced extension services to the farmers through cashew specialists located closer to the farmers.

    Also growing interest among the farmers due to economic values from cashew farming; and ccommitment from stakeholders to scale up processing activities by investing in the processing facilities in Tanzania.


    Cashew nuts sub sector is one among the main contributors in export earnings; it ranks the second from tobacco. That contribution is mainly from exports of RCN. The contribution will even be higher in the course of expanding interests in establishing local processing facilities, which will bring paradigm shift in terms of markets.


    Production of cashew nuts in Tanzania is characterised by smallholders’ farmers operating at subsistence level. There is huge potential to establish cashew farms in the new areas in Tanga.

    Tanzania is endowed with huge fertile and arable land where large plantations can be established to feed into processing factories and export markets.


    Joint ventures with already established factories through investments in technologies and management skills; establishment of new factories in preferred areas to tap the available potentials in raw materials and labour; value chain integration by establishing vertical and horizontal linkages, and investing in value chain collaboration systems with cashew nuts producers and other players.


    Juma mentioned some of the areas where Tanzania-Vietnam can collaborate are such as technology transfer especially in local processing, utilisation of cashew nut by-products, large scale farming, and input supply in local markets such as quality jute/sisal bags, and motorised blowers.


    He said that the increasing domestic consumption of cashew kernels is due to improved distribution systems through street vendors, shops, minimarkets, and supermarkets.

    The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) which is an agency of the Government established with the main purpose of co-coordination, promotion and facilitation of investments urges the private investors to enter partnerships and joint ventures to boost local processing of cashew nut production.


    He further pointed out the potential by-products from cashew apple, which can be produced include: Production of gin, processing of juice, syrup, jam, pickle and wine, extraction of cashew nuts shells liquid (CNSL), and production of butter using kernels. Without the value edition to the raw cashew, it is impossible to have a balance trade in Tanzania.


    According to Juma, the ten leading kernel exporters are Vietnam, India, Brazil, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Germany, United Republic of Tanzania, Indonesia, Belgium, and Mozambique.

    Among the main African exporters are Tanzania and Mozambique. Indonesia, Vietnam and China supply from Asia. Brazilian cashew kernels were sent mostly to the USA, but the trade with the EU has been developing recently.

    Source: THE GUARDIAN