TANZANIA – Tanzania’s cashew nut exports to Russia are set to experience a significant surge, potentially doubling in the wake of productive discussions between Tanzanian cashew nut traders and Russian stakeholders.

The development marked the initiation of direct investments by Russian investors in Tanzania’s cashew crop sector.

The virtual trade conference, held at the Russian Cultural Centre in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, brought together stakeholders from both nations.

Russian Ambassador to Tanzania, Andrey Avetisyan, expressed optimism during an interview, stating that the roundtable aimed to explore the potential for increased imports of quality cashew nuts in the Russian market and to gauge Russian investors’ interest in Tanzania’s cashew nut sector.

“One of the aims of today’s roundtable is to find out if there is an interest in Russia to invest in Tanzania’s cashew nut production and processing. And during the meeting already, we have learned that the interest is very strong,” Andrey revealed.

He highlighted the dual focus on trade and investment, with Russian companies expressing interest in investing in cashew plantations and processing plants in Tanzania.

The ambassador emphasized that the meeting aimed to promote Tanzanian cashew nuts to Russian companies, retailers, and investors, establishing direct contacts with local traders.

“The objective is to potentially double the import of Tanzanian cashew nuts, with hopes that the product will secure a substantial share in the Russian market,” he noted.

Russian imports of Tanzanian cashews were modest last year, around 100 tons, with just one major retailer representing Russia.

However, the ambassador expressed confidence in significantly increasing these numbers, considering Tanzania’s annual production of 300,000 tons of cashews, to reach 500,000 tons.

Additionally, Andrey revealed Russia’s intention to expand trade with Tanzania using local currencies, following a successful example with China where 90% of trade in goods is conducted using local currencies.

Benson Nkini, Investment Officer from the Tanzania Investment Center (TIC), emphasized the opportunity for foreign companies, particularly Russian investors, to invest in the processing of cashew nuts rather than exporting raw nuts.

He highlighted the potential for investments in cultivation and improving existing processing facilities.

Domina Mkangala, Dar es Salaam Branch Manager of the Cashew Nut Board of Tanzania (CBT), also noted that the roundtable provides an opportunity for traders in the processing sector.

“The country aims to build processing capacity to retain the value of cashew products, a move away from exporting unprocessed cashew nuts.”