TANZANIA – The government of Tanzania has announced that it has paid cashew farmers over US$15.2 million for their produce since it decided to buy the commodity early last month.

According to Agriculture minister Japhet Hasunga, the money has been paid to 34,938 farmers from 146 verified Agricultural Marketing Co-operative Societies (Amcos), The Citizen report reveals.

According to him, the amount of money paid to farmers had increased, noting that the government targeted paying US$4.34 million per day.

“On Friday, we paid US$2.17 million to farmers. However, the amount dropped to over US$1.73 million on Saturday because it was a half working day,” he said.

“We are expecting to increase the verification and payment process by starting to assess farmer’s records in the Coast Region’s Amcos, starting by warehouses located in Rufiji and Kibaha.

“All farmers are assured of payment as directed by President Magufuli.”

The government managed to collect 10,769, 912 kilos of cashew and the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) had transported them to storage warehouses located in different regions of the country.

The operation which is carried out in specific locations, is expected to be extended to other regions to engage more farmers.

Tanzania government last month decided to buy cashew from farmers after a stand-off on prices between farmers and traders.

In order to provide a reliable market for the commodity, President John Magufuli sought out for private buyers, directing the Cereals and Other Produce Board(CPB), the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) and the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) to carry out the cashew nut operation.

The President revealed that Tanzania cashew nut production forecast for the current season was 210,000 tonnes and that the government was expected to spend US$286.9 million on cashew buying before processing them for export and domestic consumption.

Based on data from the Cashew Nut Board of Tanzania (CBT), more of the cashew produced in the country exported annually compared to that processed locally.

According to CBT statistics, 117,012.708 tonnes out of 130,123.778 tonnes produced in the 2013/14 season was exported, which is equivalent to 89.92% of the export.

The report shows that 180,817.844 tonnes and 153,087.745 tonnes (equivalent to 98.61%) of total production in 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons respectively were exported.