Cashew export levy of 30% impotent, claim stakeholders

Stakeholders in the cashew sub-sector have expressed concerns that the decision to impose export levy on the crop with a view to encourage establishment of processing industries has not been up to expectations.

Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum director general  Audax Rukonge told The Citizen yesterday that the 30 per cent levy imposed by the government on raw cashew exports has not helped to improve the situation.

“The impact is negligible because exporters have been undervaluing the consignments and the country is yet to attract investors to establish processing raw cashew locally,” said  Rukonge. The country loses at least Sh176 billion ($110 million) in the wake of exporting raw cashew annually, as no value is added to the kernels, according to him.

He says while in India figures of cashew imports from Tanzania have doubled, the figures recorded here are undervalued. According to him, if the country improves processing plants, cashew production will double from the current 158,000 tonnes annually to 250,000 tonnes.

For his part, Cashew Board of Tanzania director general Mfaume Juma speaking over the phone confirmed that the government was still imposing levy on export of raw cashew, the goal being promoting value addition in the local market.

“The country exports over 80 per cent of cashew output in raw form because of lack of enough investors in the processing sector,” Mr Juma said.

He said that the government programme for privatisation of state owned cashew factories has never been successful due to weak private sector and inability to attract Foreign Direct Investments.

“We recently organised a conference of stakeholders in Dodoma to address this issue. We came up with a resolution to prepare a three year development plan to try and attract more investments in the cashew processing factories. I am sure within few years to come the country will export processed cashew by 80 per cent,” Mr Juma said.

According to the country’s report on review of food and agricultural policies under the programme of Monitoring African Food and Agricultural Policies, in 2012 export taxes had amounted to Sh256,000 ($160) per tonne, the equivalent of 20 per cent rate.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Ludger Kasumuni, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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