TANZANIA – the Tanzanian Government said it is planning to sell 200,000 tonnes of cashew nuts and is therefore seeking international markets for the commodity, reports Daily News.
Mr Innocent Bashungwa, Deputy Minister for Agriculture said the government is enganinging in talks with international buyers for the best market.
“We [the government] are in talks with international buyers and we will soon be able to sell another 200,000 tonnes to markets across the country,” said Mr Bashungwa.
Farmers and cashew nuts investors have been putting pressure to the government to which has been struggling to address the challenges facing the cashew nuts business especially in marketing the produce.
“Cashew nuts product is of paramount importance in adding to the basket of government’s revenues.
Why doesn’t the government address the challenges that farmers are grappling with when it comes to the issue of access to markets,” appealed Mtwara Urban Member of Parliament Maftaha Nachuma
However, the deputy minister highlighted that lack of value addition to cashew nuts as well as inadequate use of agricultural inputs and poor storage has been the major challenge leading to price instability of the commodity.
He said added that the government is committed in transforming the sector by strengthening the product’s value chain, increase distribution of agricultural inputs and provide education on value addition.
He said this would be important in increasing its (cashew nuts) contribution to the government’s revenue.
In december 2018, President John Magufuli ordered a 94% increase in cashew nut prices, to at least $1.31 per kilogramme in a bid to protect farmers from low prices.
However, this saw some cashew nuts processing factories close their operations due to high prices and low demand.
The president subsequently issued a directive to the ministry of Agriculture to purchase all the harvest from farmers.
Earlier on, minister of agriculture, Japhet Hasunga said that the government was contemplating bulk sales of cashew nuts as opposed to small scale processors.
“We don’t want to sell under small quantity arrangements like 5,000 or 10,000 tonnes but if someone comes and expresses interest in 100,000 tonnes that’s fine, we can talk business,” he said
In a season ended January, 2018 the government had US$ 47.5 million (TSh1.1 trillion) in foreign currency earned from cashew nuts.