THE government is in talks with a British investor to set up cashew nut processing plant to control export of raw cashew which stands at 90 per cent of all that is harvested in the country.
Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) report shows that Tanzania in 2012 produced about 158,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts but less than 10 per cent was processed internally thus denying the country income and employment opportunities.
In the past there we about 12 factories for processing nuts but in the 1990s all were sold to private firms which failed to make effective use of the factories and only two remain operational and use semi mechanical or Indian (manual) technology.
Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives Minister, Mr Christopher Chiza said that the government saw it wise to look for an investor in cashew nuts processing factories to help tap the economic opportunities of processing the crop in the country.
The minister, however, did not go into details about the ongoing negotiations with the investor because the latter fears to make his investment plans public just as yet. "We still do not know whether he will revive the existing factories or construct new ones, once we close the deal everything will go public, but we are very confident that he is going to invest for we are trying to create favorable investment environment," he said.
Bank of Tanzania's Annual Report for the year 2010/2011 indicates that cashew nuts sector is one among the main contributors in the exports basket for Tanzania, coming third after tobacco and coffee. Trade date from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO-2012) shows that Tanzania now exports over 150,000 tonnes of nuts per year compared to 65,000 tonnes ten years ago.
The data further shows that Tanzania domestic consumption of cashew nuts also soared from an estimated 20,000 tonnes in 2010 to around 25,000 metric tonnes in 2012. The CBT Director General, Mr Mfaume Juma recommended the government to consider waving taxes and machineries and spare parts earmarked for establishing and running of processing factories in the country to reduce establishment costs to investors.