COMPREHENSIVE processing of recently procured cashew nuts in Mtwara, Lindi and Ruvuma regions was launched here yesterday.
The government's envisaged inclusive cashew nut production and processing strategy seeks to empower big, micro-processors and enterprising individuals in cashew nut value addition.
Launching the strategy, Industry, Trade and Investment Deputy Minister Stella Manyanya said implementation of the strategy will be all-embracing and strictly supervised for the processed nuts to meet international market standards.
"We are launching the government's inclusive cashew nut processing strategy as promised by Minister (for Industry and Trade) Joseph Kakunda... we are serious about this issue and we have prepared ourselves to ensure cashew nuts are dried properly, processed well and graded correctly," said Engineer Manyanya.
She assured that groups of small entrepreneurs and creative individuals will be involved, "We want to get good prices for the crop and restore farmers' confidence in cashew nut growing."
Cashew nut buying, which has been supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture, has been concluded well, said the deputy minister, explaining that processing is the next natural stage to add value to the nuts before distributing them to consumers.
The government, she said, is ready to include domestic and foreign cashew processing companies from the private sector in the plan execution. Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO) Director General Professor Sylvester Mpanduji said the organisation is prepared to help micro-processors to take an active role in implementing the government's plan to have all the purchased cashew nuts processed.
"We shall ensure that many farmers participate in processing cashew nuts to world standards," Professor Mpanduji said, adding that Sido will cooperate with Naliendele Research Institute in training small entrepreneurs wishing to become cashew micro-processors.
Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) Managing Director Japhet Justine said in Newala recently that the bank will give capital to eligible cashew processors to add value to the crop.
"We have plans to ensure we play our role in increasing production and value addition to identified strategic national crops because agriculture sector has a big role to play in the country's industrialisation drive," he said.