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
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.