TANZANIA – Tanzania’s cashew nut exports earnings in the year ending September 2019 declined by 51.4% to US$563.5 million from US$1.16 billion earned in the same period in 2018, a report by the Bank of Tanzania (BOT) shows.

According to the report, cashew nut production dropped to 225,000 tonnes from a peak of 313,223 tons in 2017-18 after farmers halted sales in protest against low prices.

From the produce 90,000 tonnes of cashew nuts was exported which is about 40 per cent of the nuts harvested.

According to bank’s economic review, the decrease in cashew nuts exports is attributed to a drop-in price in the world market and reduced volumes after a government initiative to safeguard farmers’ earnings.

The government intervened by spending about US$251 million to purchase almost 157,000 tons at rates 65% higher than traders’ offers.

The state blamed secretive trading processes that forced unfavourable terms on the farmers, and amended the system for the current season.

On September 21, Agriculture minister Japhet Hasunga revealed that the government had eventually sold the 2018/2019 produce to a Vietnamese firm, but would allow private traders to resume buying in the 2019/20 season.

Tanzania plans to triple output of cashews to 1 million tons over the next four to five years, and potentially become the biggest exporter of the nuts.

To achieve this the government of Tanzania unveiled a transparent online platform system for the commodity auction of cashew nut to be used in the 2019/20 season.

The online platform, which will be ran by Tanzania Mercantile Exchange (TMX) and is set to connect farmers, buyers and regulators giving them access to see the market situation from wherever they are.

TMX is a commodity exchange in Tanzania that was set up to help various farmers access the domestic and global market with ease and obtain fair price of their produce.

The government is expecting to harvest over 300,000 tonnes in this coming season which commenced on September 30, 2019.