Cashewnut sector yearns for investors

Cashew nut Board of Tanzania (CBT) has appealed to the government, stakeholders and other development partners to invest heavily in the cash crop processing factories and save billions that the country loses through exporting raw cashew.

CBT Quality Assurance Manager Godlove Myinga said that over 90 per cent of the cash crop is exported in raw form, with only 10 per cent processed domestically. He said that it was high time all players in the cashew sector looked for investors in cashew processing factories to create employment and increase the value of exported products.

Mr Myinga said that earlier the country had about 12 factories for processing cashew nuts but in the 1990s all were sold to private firms to rescue the market for raw cashew produced although they have remained idle.

He noted that currently there are only three factories Olam Tanzania Ltd (Mtwara), Korosho Africa (Tunduma, Newala and Mtwara) and Mohamed Enterprises (Dar es Salaam)—that process the cash crop, although they can hardly absorb the entire cashew produced in the country.

“Some farmers apply manually operated machines to process cashew-nut, actually, it is very difficult to have output by using these hand tools as they are time consuming while output is very minimal,” Mr Myinga explained.

According to Mr Myinga, Cashew-nut Board is in talks with National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for the Fund to invest in the sector by operating four processing factories. Being in the ninth position in the largest world producing cashew and third in Africa after Nigeria and Ivory Coast, Tanzania produces averagely 120,000 metric tonnes of cashew, annually.

Mr Myinga explained that despite the board’s role of facilitating and supporting researches and development of the cashew-nut industry, there are still number of challenges including poor infrastructures and loans to farmers that needed immediate intervention.
source: The Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam
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