CASHEW nut growers in Mtwara region have declined to sell the cash crop at the first auctions for 2022/2023 trading season that kicked off here on Friday on the ground that the prices offered are too low. The auctions were conducted in Masasi and Tandahimba districts where a total of 8,110 tonnes of raw cashew nuts were availed by two agricultural cooperative unions. In the auction conducted at Mitondi village of Tandahimba district ,a total of 1,610 tonnes of cashew nuts availed by Tandahimba and Newala Cooperative Union (TANECU) were billed at a minimum price of 2,011/- and a maximum price of 1,630/- per kilogramme. For the auction that was conducted at Chingulungulu village of Masasi district by Mtwara, Masasi and Nanyumbu Cooperative Union (MAMCU) a total of 6,500 tonnes were availed for sell at a minimum price of 2,000/- and maximum price of 1,800/- per kilogramme. Speaking at the auction conducted in Tandahimba, the farmers said that the prices offered by the buyers were too low compared to the production costs. The farmers said the buyers should consider raising the prices to 3,000/- as maximum and 2,500/- minimum price per kilogramme of cashew nuts. "We are not satisfied with the prices offered by buyers because they do not even meet the production costs that we have incurred, we therefore call upon the government to bargain with the buyers for better prices that will enable us to earn better from our cashew harvests, said Ms Khadija Thomas, a farmer in Tandahimba district. Another cashew grower, Mr Salum Abdallah said the costs of production incurred by farmers in the 2022/2023 farming season were too high compared to the prices offered by buyers at the auction reiterating the need for the government to intervene and ensure farmers get better prices. At the auction conducted in Tandahimba 16 firms were listed to buy cashews from various warehouses in Tandahimba while in Masasi 20 companies were listed. After the farmers refused to sell their produce, both auctions were postponed to next Friday as TANECU Chairman called for calm among the farmers. Speaking at the launch of the auction in Tandahimba district, Mtwara Regional Commissioner, Colonel Ahmed Abbas called upon cooperative unions to ensure fairness and conduct open auction for the farmers to get better earnings from their produce and in turn help them afford production costs He also asked the farmers to ensure the cashew nuts traded at the auctions are of premium quality, to enable them fetch high prices. According to TANECU, a total of 1,486 kilogrammes of raw cashew nuts were sold off at the first auction at a minimum price of 2,445 and a maximum of 2,231/- price per kilogramme.