Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives is searching for investors to set up cashew nuts processing factories to exploit the economic opportunities of processing the crop in Tanzania.
Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) report shows that Tanzania in 2012 produced about 158,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts, standing at 90% of all that is harvested in the country, but less than 10% was processed internally.
The decision follows a pilot study on processing cashew nuts which was launched by CBT in December 2012. It aims at enabling the Board to set long term factories to process the crop before export.
Currently the majority of harvested cashew nuts are purchased raw, exported and processed abroad, mainly in India. This is then re-exported to different countries around the world at a higher price than the original one.
According to CBT management, farmers can no longer export sale at low prices. Through value addition, Tanzania will be able to reduce the amount of raw cashew nuts exported and also fetch higher prices.
Agriculture Non Status Actors Forum (ANSAF) recently commissioned a research report which shows that if Tanzania’s cashew nut sector performed to its full potential, it would create over 45,000 jobs in the country and make a significant contribution to the economy.
Tanzania is Africa’s largest cashew nut grower after Nigeria and Ivory Coast, and the world’s eighth biggest producer. The presence of new plants, besides new employment opportunities, would lead to a USD 110 Million in annual average income.