Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture Japhet Hasunga recently announced that the its government plans to triple cashew nuts production to 1 million tons over the next four to five years.
Tanzania’s current cashew nuts output is estimated at 290,000 tons but as the government encourages cultivation in more provinces and enhances transparency in the trade, it has the potential to become the world’s largest exporter of the nuts.
According to the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, in 2017-18 cashew nuts global output was 3.3 million tons, of which more than half came from Coast and Guinea-Bissau. India and Vietnam were the other main producers together with Tanzania.
In November 2018, the Tanzanian government declared that it will be the sole buyer of cashew nuts produced by local farmers who struggled to get a decent price for their crops in the local market.
In November 2019, Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced that the government released the final TZS 40 billion (USD 17 million) it owed cashew nuts farmers for the previous season.
Tanzania is known to produce premium quality cashew nuts fetching higher prices in the world markets compared to cashew nuts from other countries in Africa.
Such quality is attributed to favorable weather and soil conditions coupled with good agricultural practices exercised in the farms.
However, most of the production of cashew nuts in Tanzania is exported without being shelled. The main destination of exports is India where raw cashew nuts are either shelled for export or used in.
This is why the Government of Tanzania (GoT) is actively seeking investors in cashew nuts processing and has recently produced a study that identifies investment opportunities in cashew nut growing and processing in the country.