TANZANIA – Tanzania’s cashew nut production has been on the decline over the last few years due to changes in weather partners and spread of crop diseases in the plantations.

According to Cashew nut Board of Tanzania (CBT), the country earned US$575 million (about TSh1.3 trillion) for the export of 313,000 tonnes of cashew produced in 2018 before declining to 225,304.98 tonnes in the next season 2018/2019.

The sector further registered a decline in production in 2019/2020 reaching 232,681.8 tonnes. Prior to commencing the 2020/2021 season, the East African nations forecasted that its production would rise to 278,000 tonnes.

However, CBT has revised the projections indicating that the country’s production in the coming season will be short of the target by 55,600 tonnes going down 20%.

With the new projections, cashew nut projection is expected to reach 222,400 tonnes less by over 10,000 tonnes compared to the previous season’s volumes.

According to reports by The Citizen, so far the country has produced 159,196.17 tonnes of cashew worth Tsh379.929 billion (US$163.8m), sold by six cooperative unions in the four major growing regions of Mtwara; Lindi; Ruvuma and Coast.

Prior to commencing the 2020/2021 season, Tanzania projected its cashew nut production would rise to 278,000 tonnes.

That amount was traded in ongoing auctions by Masasi and Mtwara Cooperative Union (Mamcu); Tandahimba and Newala Cooperative Union (Tanecu); Ruagwa, Nachingwea and Liwale Cooperative Union (Runali); Lindi Mwambao; Tunduru Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Union (Tamcu) and Coast Region Cooperative Union (Corecu).

“At least 116,395.73 tonnes of purchased produce have been exported to India, China and Vietnam as of November 30, 2020 in accordance with the export permits,” said CBT’s acting director general Francis Alfred.

Data from CBT shows that Mamcu has sold 56,789.06 tonnes worth Tsh137.374 billion (US$59.2m), while Tanecu and Runali traded 35,701.24 and 33,828.77 tonnes each, valuing Tsh86.53 billion (US$37.3m) and Sh81.197 billion respectively.

Furthermore, data shows that while Lindi Mwambao and Tamcu traded 19,898.31 and 10,316.56 tonnes valuing Tsh46.684 billion (US$20m) and Tsh24.07 billion (US$10.3m) respectively, Corecu sold 2,662.23 tonnes worth Tsh4.085 billion (US$1.7m).

Recently, the government of Tanzania stipulated interventions to increase cashew nuts production in the country following decline in yields in the last five years.

The measures, according to Agriculture minister Japhet Hasunga, include establishment of a special fund to enable farmers acquire inputs.

To this end the government has scrapped the Cashewnut Industry Development Trust Fund (CIDTF) for what was described as failure to perform since it was established in 2010.

In the event, its responsibilities were immediately shifted to the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT).

Other measures to revive the sub-sector are to financially empower CBT and the Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute (Nari); increasing the number of cashews extension officers, and trading the produce online via the Tanzania Mercantile Exchange (TMX) to attract early arrival of buyers from all over the world in addition to trading via the current Warehouse Receipt System (WRS).

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE