THE cashew season in 2023/2024 has started with a bang in the Southern Tanzania regions of Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma.
Mtwara Region is the central meeting point for cashew farmers and stakeholders who meet in Mtwara to ensure that their cashew shipments leave the country for markets in various parts of the world.
The port of Mtwara has been given the big responsibility to be the only link to transport all the cashews from the Southern Regions of Tanzania by ship abroad according to the needs of customers and stakeholders of the product.
The government's order regarding the transportation of all cashews from the Southern Regions of Tanzania to be carried out through the Port of Mtwara was issued by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan on 15th September 2023 when she made a visit to inspect the development of the Mtwara Port Improvement Project.
Since the start of this cashew season two weeks ago, hundreds of vehicles carrying cashews have been seen entering Mtwara Region and the port of Mtwara to follow the procedures set by the cashew board and the port of Mtwara before starting the loading of the cashews in warehouses and being loaded onto ships ready for shipping.
The first ship to leave with cashew cargo MV Kailas, which left the port on 11th November with 51 boxes of cashew to India
Currently, the second ship, MV Groton has docked and is loading cashews and is expected to leave with 309 boxes of cashews to different countries across the globe.
In response to the challenge of the shortage of packaging containers, which was the main obstacle to the effectiveness of this exercise in the past, the port of Mtwara has received a total of 1,398 empty containers from various companies, including 104 20 feet containers and 1,294 40 feet containers which have a capacity to pack up to 35,788.8 tonnes of cashew nuts.
In addition, a total of 51 40 feet containers have been loaded with 1,305.6 tonnes of cashews and shipped to India. Likewise, 1,347 empty containers from various companies are at Mtwara Port waiting to be loaded with cashew nuts.
The boxes have a capacity to load up to 34,483.2 tonnes and until now, a total of 757 containers have been loaded with 19,379.2 tonnes of cashewnuts, where they are waiting for ships to be shipped to foreign countries.
However, in this month of November, Mtwara Port expects to receive 9 ships with more than 4,010 empty containers that will be able to load 102,656 tonnes of cashews. The ships belong to CMA, CGM, PIL and MSC.
The Deputy Director General of TPA, Engineer Juma Kijavara, who led the TPA delegation in the parliamentary committee visit of the port, said TPA has taken all the necessary steps to deal with the increase in cargo at the Port of Mtwara during this cashew season.
"TPA employees with great expertise in port operations are located in Mtwara, we have modern work tools and we work 24 hours with great attention while all departments ensure that customers get high quality services and regular information about the ongoing exercise," he said.
He said in order to ensure that the users of Mtwara port are productive through using the port, TPA management has given a big discount to customers in this cashew season where they will now be allowed to store empty containers at the port free of charge for the whole season.
Another attraction is a 30 per cent reduction in the cost of loading and unloading cargo cargoes entering and leaving the port, plus a 0.5per cent wharfage discount for cargoes entering and leaving the port. Another attraction is the extension of storage time for containers with cargo from 7 to 14 days free of charge.