TANZANIA – The government of Tanzania has 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 according to reports by The Citizen, 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).

According to the Central Bank of Tanzania (CBT) reports, cashew nuts production in the 2015/2016 farming season was 344,000 tonnes. This increased to 358,000 tonnes in 2016/17.

Then production declined to 303,000 tonnes in 2017/18; 232,000 tonnes in 2018/19, and 227,778 tonnes in the 2019/20 season.

Cashew stakeholders attributed the production downfall to farmers’ frustrations with poor access to agricultural inputs, compounded by instability in the market.

The executive director of the Agriculture Non-State Actors Forum (Ansaf), Audax Rukonge, said price instability and unavailability of agricultural inputs discourage farmers.

Also, the amounts of cashew nuts bought by small and medium domestic processors are not included in the total annual production despite their major contribution to the economy.

Tanzanian regulatory frameworks and guidelines require small and middle-scale processors to buy a minimum of 50 tonnes at auctions.

“The law is oppressive to small and medium scale cashew processors. They need to be supported and assisted to secure loans from financial institutions, and also land from district and town councils,” he said.

The Tandahimba Farmers Association (Tafa) chairman, Mr Faraji Njapuka, said that, on top of the inability to get agricultural inputs, some farmers were discouraged by the government’s failure to pay on time and in full for cashew nuts sold in the 2018/19 harvest season.

“Unpaid Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) sent to some warehouses of Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (Amcos) and Cooperative Societies in the 2019/20 season could discourage them further,” he said.

Tunduru Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Union (Tamcu) general manager Imani Kalembo suggested that strong cooperation between the government and society union leaders was required in order to revive and increase cashew production in the country.

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