Tanzanian government has called upon the Indian firms to purchase cashews.
This was during the India-East Africa Business Forum and Exhibition in Dar es Salaam held on 14th and 15th March. Representatives from over 45 Indian companies took part in the event coordinated by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the Indian High Commission.
The Industry and Trade Deputy permanent secretary Edwin Muhede, who opened the event on government`s behalf asked Indian companies to purchase Tanzanian cashew nuts and help to set up processing factories of the crop in the country. Dr. Muhede said the government has not been able to process all the cashews due to inadequate capacity. Tanzania has eight operational cashew nut processing plants with annual combined installed and operational capacities at 127,200 and 18,945 tonnes respectively.
The cashew nut issue in Tanzania is a litany of pitfalls beginning with last year when the President drove out private cashew buyers who offered unsatisfying prices to the local sellers. The President instead promised Tshs.3300 ($1.4) for any kilo bought, and thus directed the army to truck the over 250,000 tonnes cashew consignment to the storage facilities with assistance of 25-tonnage military trucks.
He later directed the state owned Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) to compensate the farmers in addition to sacking the Agriculture and Trade and Industry ministers for failure to protect farmers. The compensation exercise was characterized with several grievances by the farmers complaining of how their payments were delayed and how some of their cashew nut being termed of lower class calling low prices.
On January 30th, Tanzania inked a deal with Kenya`s Indo Power Solutions Limited which pledged to purchase over 100,000 tonnes valued at Tshs.414 billion ($180 million). The deal was signed in Arusha between the Cereals and other Produce Board Director, Hussein Mansour and Brian Mutembei, CEO of Indo Power Solutions. Also at the signing were the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, Palamagamba Kabudi, Industry and Trade Minister, Joseph Kakunda and the Bank of Tanzania governor, Florens Luoga. However, up to now the company has not yet purchased any cashew from Tanzania.