Tanga — CASHEW farmers in Tanga Region have appealed to the government to repossess idle cashew nut processing factories and handle the facilities to them through co-operatives.
They said, if the factories were handled over to them they would do wonders and operate at full capacity, unlike current situation whereby many of the factories are either idle or turned into warehouses. The farmers gave the request yesterday during the cashew farmers' meetings held in Tanga and Mkinga districts, discussing various challenges facing the industry.
Earlier, the chairman of Cashewnut Industry Development Trust Fund, Athuman Nkinde from Mtwara, told the meeting that the government has been urging the farmers not to sell raw cashew nut. He said if the cashew farmers wanted to get rid of poverty, they should process their products which at present commands a good market internationally.
Citing as an example, Mr Nkinde said that a kilo of raw cashewnut is being sold at 1,200/- but the same kilo of the processed one is more than 15,000/-.
However, he urged them to unite through their cooperatives so that the Fund would assist them with processing machines and even with good quality seeds. The fund's chairman was in Tanga to promote the growth and revival of cashew nut crop because the crop thrives well in Tanga and Mkinga districts. However, farmers have been discouraged due to lack of reliable market and high prices of inputs.