TANZANIA – The government of Tanzania is scheming on constructing a modern cashew processing facility in the Mtwara region in a bid to increase local processing, IPP media reports.
The envisaged modern factory is expected to have a processing capacity of 300,000 tons of cashew annually, aimed to help the government in attaining the vision of ensuring that starting from 2026/2027, all exported cashew is processed
Hussein Bashe, the Minister for Agriculture made the revelation stating that the government is working to finalize budgetary and architectural preparation for the commencement of the facility.
As part of the project’s preparations, minister Bashe said the ministry has already allocated 1,000 acres in the district for the project.
“The central mission behind the establishment of the plant is to attain a total additional value chain of the crop,” he unveiled
Tanzania is one of the largest cashew producers in Africa, with exports providing 10-15 percent of the country’s foreign exchange.
According to the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT), the production of raw cashews has increased from 210,786.804 tonnes in 2020/2021 to 240,158.752 tonnes in 2021/2022 equivalent to14 percent following various steps taken by the government and other stakeholders to boost the crop farming.
However, despite such excellence in the production of the cash crop, only 5 percent of the raw cashew nuts are being processed locally with the other 95 percent being exported to Vietnam or India for value addition before reaching consumer markets of Europe and America.
According to Bashe, the crop is among the key economic cash crops that thrive in abundance within the country but the sub-sector has yet to fetch the deserved profit due to several handicaps, including the absence of enough modern processing factories.
“We’re missing out on a possible opportunity to generate lucrative profits, in terms of foreign currencies, as we are exporting most of our cashew in raw; the negative trend which provides loopholes for others to benefit from our cashew,” he observed.
He added that the government expects to equip the factory with the state- of – the art machinery for effective processing and production of diverse products from raw cashew nuts.
Backing the project, Alfred Francis, the Director General (DG) of the Cashew Board of Tanzania (CBT)in a different interview said that the production of cashew nuts has continued, adding that the crop is now grown in more than 12 regions across the country.