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  • Tanzania misses the 2022/23 cashew harvest target again 01/16/2023

    Jan 16th, 2023

    Farmers have pocketed Sh321.623 billion from 172,524.85 tonnes of cashews auctioned until early this week. The Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) auction schedule showed that the 2022/23 trading auctions that commenced on October 14, 2022 will be concluded on January 13, 2023. However, despite the fact that the produce is still being harvested in some regions including Tanga, Dodoma and Singida, the possibility of meeting the 400,000 tonnes target was minimal. RELATED Food, cash crops that topped exports in 2022 Business Yesterday Tanzania gains US market for value added cashew nuts National Yesterday Last year, the government issued subsidised agriculture inputs to cashew farmers. The decision aimed at increasing cashew harvests to 400,000 tonnes in 2022/23 and 700,000 reaching 2025/26. The CBT report shows that reaching April 29, 2022, Tanzania produced 238,575.91 tonnes Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN). Read: Farmers earn Sh169 billion as cashew auctions continue Furthermore, the report shows that 231,199.73 tonnes of the total harvests was traded through auctions, while another 7,305.04 tonnes was traded through the primary markets. The amount of RCN collected is equivalent to 66,051.06 tonnes less as compared to the amount collected last season which is equal to 28 percent of the decrease. Furthermore, the CBT data shows that Masasi and Mtwara Cooperative Union (Mamcu) have collected 59,316.33 tonnes this season enabling its members to pocket Sh111.314 billion. However, their counterparts Ruangwa, Nachingwea and Liwale Cooperative Union (Runali) have collected 41,752.36 tonnes enabling its farmers to garner Sh79.962 billion. According to the document, members of the Tandahimba and Newala Cooperative Union (Tanecu) have pocketed Sh60.553 billion from 31,605.03 tonnes of RCN collected. Their Lindi Mwambao counterparts earned Sh25.297 billion from 14,448.17 tonnes of RCN. Tunduru Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Union (Tamcu) earned Sh25.455 billion from 14,305.14 tonnes of RCN, while Coast Region Cooperative Union gathered 10,743. 86 tonnes worth Sh18.778 billion. For Ulanga and Kilombero Cooperative Union (Ukicu) farmers pocketed Sh264.85 million after auctioning 154 tonnes of RCN. Speaking to The Citizen, the CBT acting director of marketing and quality control, Ms Domina Mkangara said RCN was still being harvested in some other regions of the country including Tanga and Manyoni. “The season hasn’t been concluded and the final report hasn’t been released. Despite price challenges, they’ve received their payments on time throughout the season,” she said. “Likewise, buyers have been demanding quality RCN consignments. We have been obliged to ensure that over 99 of RCN reached buyers during auctions,” she added. According to her, farmers are now mobilised to start preparing their farms for the 2023/24 agricultural season through engagement in mixed farming. “CBT has also updated the cashew farmers’ registry to ease the process of distributing subsidised agricultural input to farmers and the amount every farmer is supposed to get,” he said. Mamcu General Manager, Biadia Matipa said the cooperative has missed its 100,000 tonnes target. “Expectations were high at the beginning of the season. However, an abrupt weather change led to tree leaves shedding,” she said. “Mtwara was highly affected. However, Masasi and Nanyamba were far better,” she said. After the said weather changes, changes are now maturing well in Nanyamba and Mtwara Rural areas with harvests commencing in some areas, according to her. “It is high time experts conduct some research and find scientific reasons that have led to decline in RCN production this season,” she said. “Availability of packaging materials used to be a problem in the past, but, the situation was very different this season because we are left with plenty of empty sacks that will be used next season,” added Ms Matipa. She said farmers received their payments on time as compared to the previous seasons, noting that buyers’ compliance played an important role to the said achievements. However, her Runali counterpart, Ms Jahida Said said abrupt weather changes were a major challenge and they affected the cashew harvests. “Experts should give answers, including accurate agricultural inputs that should be used in some weather conditions. Most farmers have taken initiatives to semi-process the produce in order to fetch better prices,” she said. She commended buyers for making their payments on time, effectively abiding by the auction’s guidelines, noting that the move enabled them to likewise pay their members on time. Tanecu General Manager, Mr Mohamed Mwinguku said the 2022/23 season should be evaluated to get actual reasons for the production decline. Not only are we not going to reach the 400,000 tonnes target, we still won’t be able to reach the 238, 575.91 tonnes harvested in the 2021/22 season. “Packaging materials weren’t a challenge this season which was characterised by high quality RCN. Supply and distribution of agricultural inputs to cashew farmers was also excellent this season,” he said. Tamcu chairman, Mussa Manjaule said weather changes were to blame for the poor performance in the 2022/23 season. “Low prices offered by cashew buyers at the beginning of the season sent an alarming message to players, especially farmers. However, we are thankful that the matter was amicably resolved,” he said. “Farmers receive their payments on time, as buyers guaranteed - thorough movement of RCN from warehouses - therefore creating enough space for the new produce most of the time,” he added. Last year, cashew stakeholders expressed worries that weather changes recorded by early September will adversely reduce the volume of cashews to be produced in the 2022/23 season. However, CBT maintained that the target to produce 400,000 tonnes remained unchanged. “No threat to the anticipated volume of production has been recorded by CBT so far. However, the 2022/23 season will slightly be longer,” said the CBT Acting Director General, Mr Francis Alfred. However, the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (Tari) at the Naliendele Centre, Director Dr Fortunatus Kapinga confirmed the presence of weather changes due to climate change. “We have witnessed delays in cashew development patterns such as flowering, fertilisation, swelling, nuts setting to maturity with flowers reported to have withered in some places,” he said. “This is not caused by any disease, but by changes in the weather occurring whenever there is change in temperature and rainfall required by cashews,” he added. According to him, excessive wind - which cannot be controlled by man - could lead to production decline, noting however that resumption of temperature to normalcy would give recovery and prevent possible decline in production. “Therefore, I can’t say how much production will be lost because it’s difficult to predict the level of recovery that will occur in the future,” he said, adding, however, that there are some cashew trees bearing young nuts now indicating that possibly of the season being longer. The senior cashew expert said his centre was using the challenge for planning future research activities that would enable the country to come up with new cashew varieties that are resistant to climate change.