TANZANIA – An unknown Belgian investor is set to open the country’s first cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL) processing facility in Tanzania to produce oil as one step in adding value to the commodity.
The project will be handled to Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) after the ministry concludes its part.
Speaking to Daily News, the Acting Director for the Europe and America Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, Jestas Nyamanga said the investor was working on final logistical issues before that happens.
According to him, adding value to the crop would be critical in increasing farmer’s income and improving their living standards.
Cashew nut shells used to be thrown away as valueless and useless will be bought by the facility which could be efficiently used for energy or chemicals production.
“We are finalising investment logistics for the processing plant,” said Nyamanga. “Cashew producers are set to maximize their income by selling not only the nuts but also its shell.”
The new facility will enable farmers benefit from the crop fully by selling the nut shells as well, contrary to when they only used to get about 75% benefits from it.
“This will see cashew nuts farmers earn 25% income more per kilogramme, from shell which was previously regarded as waste,” he said.
“And it will create more jobs.”
The liquid, cashew shell oil, is versatile by product of the cashew industry and is anti-corrosive used as base coat paint in marine vessels and aircraft.
The oil is often considered as the better and cheaper material for unsaturated phenols.
The liquid has innumerable applications, such as friction linings, paints, laminating resins, rubber compounding resins, cashew cements, polyurethane based polymers, surfactants, epoxy resins, foundry chemicals and intermediates for chemical industry.
It offers much scope and varied opportunities for the development of other tailor-made polymers.
This comes after Tanzania’s government decided to buy all cashew nut stocks from farmers following several auction failures.
Farmers were reluctant to sell their crop to traders who were offering low prices, blamed on a drop in global prices.
However, global cashew prices have since risen 10% after the Tanzania price hike.
According to Michael Stevens, a commodities trader at Scotland-based Freeworld Trading, price of the commodity has risen to US$3.80 per pound from US$3.50 in the last seven to ten days.