MOZAMBIQUE – Mozambique’s national cashew nut institute, Association of Cashew Industralists (AICAJU) is expecting a decline in cashew nut processing by its members in 2020 to around one third less than what was achieved in 2019.

“AICAJU estimates that cashew processing this year will not reach 35,000 tonnes, compared to around 52,000 tonnes processed last year,” the association stated.

The decline in production is attributed to the low number of primary processing plants, with the country now having less than 10 plants in operation and some are expected to suspend working by August due to lack of raw material, reports Club of Mozambique.

“This drop reflects the impact of a negative marketing trend in recent years, with the national industry processing less and less cashew since 2017,” the statement says, noting that in 2018 around 60,000 tonnes were processed in the country.

AICAJU argues that there is unfair competition from international players citing Asian processors are able to buy raw materials in Mozambique at unfair prices, thus distorting the market with a negative impact on the national industry, the processing value chain and finally state coffers.

This year’s harvesting and marketing effort has also been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a significant drop in price.

The price of cashew nuts has fallen by more than 15% since the start of the crisis and by 25% from a year ago.

To remedy the situation AICAJU deems the fostering of training mechanisms and support to producers for the development of cashew trees as critical otherwise production will suffer further.

AICAJU represents 10 major processing plants and seven small and medium-sized industrial units.

Cashew was in 2018 Mozambique’s 11th export product in terms of revenue, at US$14.8 million (€13.6 million), according to data from the country’s National Statistics Institute (INE).

Despite the current difficult situation, AICAJU says that it is confident in the work that the government is doing and believes that, through consultation between the State, private sector and producers, it will be possible, in a timely manner, to implement measures to defend the sector, which will allow a fair 2020 operation for all stakeholders.