Maputo — The Mozambican government is planning to build a new cashew research centre in the northern province of Nampula to boost production across the country, reports the daily newspaper "Diario de Mocambique".
According to the director of the government's National Cashew Institute (INCAJU), Filomena Maiopue, the centre will focus its research on the entire production chain in coordination with the Mozambican government's Agricultural Research Institute (IIAM).
Speaking on the sidelines of INCAJU's national planning meeting, held recently in the district of Dondo in the central province of Sofala, Maiopue explained that a Tanzanian consultant has already visited Mozambique to identify the requirements for the installation of the research centre.
Maiopue pointed out that "we have just had a very bad year. If we want to develop the cashew sub-sector we must invest in restructuring the research component to discover new varieties of cashew trees that are more profitable and suitable for the country's climate".
The institute will also look at new export markets to reduce the dependence on India, which is the dominant export destination.
The meeting also recommended using national experts to support the development of nurseries to cultivate cashew seedlings for the 2012/13 season and to support cashew nut processing.
INCAJU intends to grow three million cashew seedlings to be distributed among peasant farmers.
The planning meeting received a report which stated that cashew nut production fell in the 2011/2012 agricultural season to the lowest level in the last ten years.
Production only reached 64,000 tonnes, down from the 113,000 tonnes reported in the previous year, which was a peak for cashew production.
Maiopue attributed the decline to the year on year natural variations of the cashew tree.
Cashew is one of the major sources of hard currency for the country. Official figures reveal that the value of cashew exports rose from 13.7 million US dollars in 2000 to 39.5 million dollars in 2010.