Dar es Salaam. The government has disclosed that at least 15 cashew nuts processing firms have so far expressed their readiness to sign a contract, which will enable them to process the crop locally.
This revelation comes at a time when the government continues to purchase cashew nuts at a price of Sh3,300 per kilogram after locking out all private buyers.
The private buyers were locked out after declining to buy the produce at over Sh3,000 per kilogram.
The government’s intervention came after the farmers complained about the low prices that the private buyers were offering during initial auctions in Tandahimba, Masasi and Nachingwea districts.
The government, thereafter, tasked the Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB), Cereals and Mixed Products Board (CPB), Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) in the oversight of the Ministry of Agriculture and that of Industry, Trade and Investment, to purchase the product and process the consignments domestically.
Deputy Minister for Industries, Trade, and Investment Stella Manyanya said the government was working on a possible collaboration with the private companies.
“Our officials are currently working on the matter. The factories with the capacity of processing the produce will certainly enter into an agreement with the government,” she said.
Ms Manyanya was speaking in Mtwara at the weekend during the handover of nine tonnes of cashews to entrepreneurs for processing after striking a deal with the government.
She disclosed that the government has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the processors, adding that they will be contracted after finalizing the ongoing evaluation. “We need to visit and inspect various processing groups in the country in order to satisfy ourselves with processing guidelines, which include food preservation standards,” she said.
“These nine tonnes will be processed in one week when another consignment will be given again to the entrepreneurs.”
The local entrepreneurs are expected to process the produce under the Small Industries Development Organisation (Sido).