TANZANIA – Tanzanian Vice-President Dr. Philip Mpango has urged African countries to boost local consumption of cashew nuts and their by-products while tapping into the vast continental market of nearly 1.4 billion people facilitated by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Speaking at the Tanzania International Cashew Conference in Dar es Salaam, Dr. Mpango emphasized the need to make cashews and related products more affordable to the majority of people, promoting regional consumption.

He also called for measures to address malpractices in the cashew industry, such as unfair grading and counterfeit pesticides, while inviting potential investors to support Tanzania’s cashew sector.

“The country is in a favorable position for cashew production due to its harvest season, vast arable land, and suitable weather conditions,” he noted.

“Under the agriculture sector transformation agenda 10/30, Tanzania aims to significantly increase its agricultural sector’s growth rate, projecting to raise raw cashew production from the annual average of 220,000 tonnes to 1,000,000 tonnes per year by 2030, with intermediate targets of 400,000 tonnes in 2023/24 and 700,000 tonnes by 2026/27.”

He emphasized that the goal is to boost cashew nut production and maintain Tanzania’s position as one of the top three producers in Africa.

Additionally, he noted that the country plans to process 60 percent of raw cashews to add value and expand its market.

“Promoting local consumption of cashew nuts and their by-products, such as jam, juice, cashew milk, wine, ethanol, and oil, is a part of this strategy,” he said.

Currently, the export of raw cashew nuts dominates, resulting in low prices and missed opportunities to extract added value.

Dr. Mpango’s call for enhancing domestic consumption and value addition aligned with efforts to unlock the full potential of the cashew sector in Africa, which has grown in production but is often exported in its raw form.

“Africa’s cashew output has significantly increased, and there’s a need to capitalize on this growth by promoting local processing and consumption, creating jobs, and boosting incomes in the sector.”

He added that African countries can strengthen their position in the global cashew market by investing in processing facilities, improving grading practices, and ensuring fair prices for cashew nuts.

Meanwhile, with the African Continental Free Trade Area opening up new opportunities, there’s a vast market waiting to be explored, and African nations can leverage their comparative advantages in cashew production.

Moreover, by enhancing the cashew sector’s value chain, including processing, packaging, and marketing, Dr. Mpango highlighted that African countries could increase the value of their cashew exports and create a more sustainable and economically viable industry

“By promoting value addition, improving industry practices, and expanding domestic consumption, African countries can tap into the growing continental market and strengthen their position as major players in the global cashew industry.”