Dar es Salaam — The government's move to launch a cashew nut processing plant is good news as it stands to increase Tanzania's economic growth as well as benefiting cashewnut farmers.
Recent reports show that the government is in talks with a British investor to set up a cashewnut processing plant that will aim at controlling export of raw cashewnut standing at 90% of all the cashew nut export harvested in the country.
Speaking to East African recently in Mtwara during a familiarization tour organized by Bioscience for Farming in Africa (B4FA), Dr. Louis Kasuga of Nailiendele Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) said that there is need to make sure that the country processes its cashewnut locally because it stood a better chance of benefiting more than exporting unprocessed nuts.
Kasunga said besides the benefits from the oil peels that can be used as lubricants in different machineries, the country can also benefit from the ashes after burning the peeled shells that can be used as fertilizers for different crops.
"We are losing a lot from exporting the unprocessed nut oversees to India and other countries," said Kasunga adding that the exportation of unprocessed nuts also reduces the prices of nuts at the world market.
Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) report shows that Tanzania produced around 158,000 metric tonnes of cashewnuts in 2012.
Only 10% of the nuts were processed internally thus denying the country both the income and employment opportunities.
The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Cooperatives Minister, Mr. Christopher Chiza was recently quoted as saying 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 without further elaborations.
He however, noted that Tanzania government had still no knowledge of whether the new investor will revive the old unfunctioning factories or construct new factories.