Tanzania hopes to recoup income lost from exporting raw, unprocessed cashew nuts with $6 billion in funding intended to boost the country’s local cashew-processing abilities.
Africa’s third largest cashew nut grower after Nigeria and Ivory Coast, Tanzania is the world’s eighth biggest producer, according to a report in All Africa.
Of the 174,000 tons of cashew nuts exported from Tanzania in the 2011-2012 season, most were purchased raw, exported and processed abroad, mainly in India. Then the cashews were re-exported to other countries at a higher price, the report says. Less than 10 percent was processed locally.
The funding is being provided by the Cashew Nut Board of Tanzania and the Cashew Nut Industry Development Trust Fund.
Tanzania’s cashew customers, who pay low prices for the products in the raw state, benefit while local farmers are losing money, said Cashew Nut Board of Tanzania Director Mfaume Juma in the All Africa report.
Exporting processed cashews would encourage more farmers to grow them because they’d be assured higher profits, he said.
If Tanzania’s cashew nut sector performs to its full potential, it will create more than 45,000 jobs, according to research by the Agriculture Non Status Actors Forum, the report said.
Cashews provide income for about 250,000 smallholder farmers in Tanzania, mostly in the southern coastal region, which accounts for 80 percent to 90 percent of the country’s marketed cashew crop, the All Africa report says.