Another cashew processing factory will shortly begin operations in the northern province of Nampula, bringing the total number in the country to 12. Deputy Agriculture Minister Olegario Banze made this announcement on 23 November in Nassaruma, in the Nampula district of Meconta, where he launched the 2022-2023 cashew marketing campaign which is expected to earn cashew producers US$ 87 million. The new factory is still undergoing tests "but it should soon be fully operational", said Banze, adding that "the processing unit can handle 15,000 tonnes of nuts a year, which will be a major impulse for the country's economy". He explained that this is the result of efforts his Ministry has been making to improve the financing capacity of cashew companies to strengthen and expand cashew processing. The government's agricultural development programme, Sustenta, which aims to empower small rural producers, covers the sub-sector of nut crops and the country has favourable agro-ecological conditions for these crops. "This programme also covers the value chains of nuts, namely cashew and macadamia nuts", said Banze. "It will be a lever for the rapid growth of this sub-sector, which has high potential, and in which Mozambique was once a world reference point. The country enjoys favourable conditions so that it can once again occupy a prominent position in the global context of nut crops". At the launch ceremony, the representative of the Association of Cashew Industries (AICAJU), Julina Harculete, declared that his association will continue to work so that cashew processing once again becomes robust and competitive. However, she argued against the government's policy of setting a reference price for cashew nuts which, she claimed, does not benefit the market. "Since the stipulation of the reference price, the market has fallen again", Harculete said. This led AICAJU to call for the need "to allow the market to operate since it is the market that will dictate the real reference price". She noted that currently 11 cashew processing plants are operating in Mozambique, compared with the 16 that were operating in 2020. The number of workers employed in cashew processing had fallen by over 13 per cent compared with 2021. "Currently we have 4,011 workers, 67 per cent of whom are women", she said. "As cashew industrialists, we shall continue to work hard to contribute to the socio-economic development of our country, through the provision of more jobs and placing more products on the national and international markets". Harculete said that in the 2021/2022 season the industry processed 32,663 tonnes of cashew nuts, compared with 30,664 tonnes the previous year - an increase of 6.5 per cent.