Thứ Tư, ngày 19 tháng 10 năm 2016

Tanzania: Premier Majaliwa Orders Arrest of Cashew Nuts Smugglers

19 Oct. 2016

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has directed Lindi Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Godfrey Zambi to arrest all traders who are involved in cashew nuts smuggling.
He said all traders who are involved in smuggling of cashew nuts must be arrested and arraigned. "I would like to direct the Regional Commissioner to immediately act on this matter, these people who are involved in this illegal business must be arrested and taken to court for further legal actions," said the Premier.
According to the statement released by the Prime Minister's Office, Mr Majaliwa was speaking to residents of Mibure, Namakuku, Ng'imbwa, Chienjele, Mkata, Mitope and Kitandi in Ruangwa District.
The Premier also urged Lindi farmers to stop selling cashew nuts to racketeers best known as 'kangomba' in Lindi Region. He said farmers must sell their crops to the official market so that they can benefit from the business.

"The government will take serious legal measures against people who will be found smuggling cashew nuts, their vehicles will be seized as well," he noted. The Premier told cashew nuts farmers to shun 'kangomba' business and sell their cash nuts to authorized markets at a higher and approved price.
According to Mr Majaliwa, this year's cashew nuts price is expected to increase to 3,500/- per kilogram. He said some traders are buying cashew nuts at 1,000/- per kilogram.
"Some traders are buying cashew nuts at 1,000/- per kilogram but the price for this year is expected to increase to 3,500/- per kilogram, you must avoid selling your produces to these traders," he said.
He added: "These traders are also using unapproved measurement, and thus farmers are exploited," Moreover, the Prime Minister urged farmers to grow sunflowers and other cash crops so that they can get more benefit from agriculture practices.
"Those who grow sunflower get a profit of 1m/- from one acre, there is need for farmers in this region to grow other cash crops instead of concentrating on cash crops alone," he said.

Thứ Ba, ngày 18 tháng 10 năm 2016

Gas boom in southern Tanzania casts bleak future for cashew farming

18 Oct. 2016

It’s around 10am, local time, when I met with a 55-year-old man, Ahmed Salum, who is busy pruning his five-acre farm of cashew nuts—the only cash crop in this area since the collapse of the Tanganyika Groundnut Scheme in the early 1950s.

Salum is alone at the entire farm, which is coloured with 10 to 12 metres of cashew trees.
His being alone in the farm is something that caught my interest and I asked him why so?

“I have no money to hire people to do what I am doing. My three children, who used to assist me have left the village, they are in Mtwara town,” he said.

According to him, the last son to move to town left the village a year ago soon after completing his primary education. They have moved in search of greener pastures as agriculture is a challenging venture.

“I am not sure what they are doing there but we’re communicating on a regular basis and sometimes they send me some money,” says Salum, donning black pants with a light blue t-shirt.

Why his sons deserted the village?

Salum recounts that in recent years the village experienced youth migration to urban areas including Mtwara with the belief that in urban centres there is wealth.

“My fear is that almost all manpower is relocating to towns in search of employment as you see cashew nuts are not paying well as production has gone down and the prices are not encouraging,” he says.

The old man says: “In the past, I had ten acres of the crop, but with limited labour force I couldn’t manage to take care of the whole ten acres so I decided to sell.”

Salum is of the view that farming does not attract the young generation.

“It doesn’t have any future to them because it’s overwhelmed with lots of challenges ranging from poor pricing, lack of processing facilities for it to add value and inadequate farm inputs. On top of it rain is not raining as it was two to three decades ago.”

He says: “Cashew nut farming is not given attention as it is the case with other cash crops in terms of subsidies and other services.”

“It is our traditional crop, that’s why you see me and other farmers continue with this farming and the vivid evidence you can see on our houses and entire lives.

We harvest this crop once a year, so for the other days when we’re not harvesting how do we survive,” he queries as he puts together pruned branches of the cashew nut trees.

Is gas economy a threat to cashew nut farming?

According to the National Natural Gas Policy of Tanzania-2013, natural gas can be used to stimulate development and growth of other sectors and sub-sectors of the economy such as agriculture, transport, education, health, mining, commerce, manufacturing, household and electricity.

Salum is aware of all these developments in the gas sector, though he says: “They have nothing to do with our cashew nuts farming.”

On rural-urban migration, the old man says: “This gas thing is confusing more people especially the youth. More people here think that in Mtwara town there is plenty of money…and that’s why more youth prefer to go to the town than staying in our villages.”

Salum who lives in his grass-roofed house says the government has been pledging to bring in more cashew nut processing facilities so that nuts are being added value before getting into local and international markets so that they can attract more foreign exchange and employment.

“But, I also doubt it because some of the factories, which were being privatised and those who took them, are not engaging in processing.”

“These government’s pledges, cannot stop young men and women from going into urban centres,” he says, expressing his fear that the labour force is heading into towns, leaving behind the elderly.

“I am not saying the gas economy is bad, no but these two things were needed to go at par and for this to be realised, practical efforts were highly needed to bring in better incentives that will encourage young Tanzanians to get into farming.”

Youth’s voice

As it is common to other Tanzanian villages, a 22-year-old young man, Mohamed Achombanga is busy repairing his motorcycle, as he is providing transport services in Nanguruwe village.

He is not thinking of becoming one of the successful farmers in the area rather his dream is to become a successful businessman in one of the urban centres in southern Tanzania.

“Cashew nut farming is not my choice. It’s an activity of the elderly,” confidently Achombanga says, insisting that life in town is easier than that of the village.

Achombanga who is not even sure of how life is easier in town, stresses: “I have been meeting people who left the village some years back and they look different than us. This is what makes me believe that one day I will become somebody.”

According to him, the motorcycle taxi business is just to get a start-up capital for his business, which never mentioned.

“I know there are challenges those who go to town face but with no time they stand and continue with their journey to prosperity.”

Another young man in the area, Jackson Makenika (20) also attests that cashew nut farming is not performing well to the extent of encouraging youth to venture into it.

He cites lack of modern farming tools like tractors and farm inputs and low price as a challenge that ruins the venture as well as discouraging youth to get into it.

“Many of the cashew nut farms are owned and managed by old men, who also try to encourage their children to get into it, but most of the young men who were given cashew nut farms have sold them and used the money to go into urban areas,” he says.

Prisca Kanoga, Nanguruwe Ward agricultural officer is aware of the challenge, saying: “The rural-urban migration trend poses a serious threat to cashew nut farming, as the workforce is diminishing leaving farms under the supervision of old men and women.”

“So, the elderly cannot manage their farms because of age, and this has been making many farms being abandoned and some have turned into bushes, causing another challenge as they have become a home to wild and destructive animals,” the official says.

Kanoga says as local government leaders, they have no mandate to prohibit those youth who leave their villages into urban areas “It is the responsibilities of parents.

They are responsible for involving their children in cashew nut farming and they should also tell them about its benefits.”

Jumanne Mussa, an 18-year-old young man is currently engaged in selling value added cashew nuts in Mtwara town.

He earns between 25,000/- and 45,000/- a day, which he says is bigger than what he was earning from his home village.

Mussa comes from Miule, a remote village of Tandahimba—one of the leading districts in Mtwara Region for growing cashew nuts.

He says there is future in selling value added nuts than growing cashew nuts “it’s too costly and yet its market is not encouraging and that's why rural-urban migration trend will continue because the pushing and pulling factors are still there."

“I am saying this because factors which make youth migrate is still there; farming is not paying as is evident in Mtwara Town and other cities. In urban centres like Mtwara, someone can do any business he/she wants, something which is different in the remote villages.”

Manka Michael who works as a bar attendant in one of the popular bars in the municipality says the number of people seems to be going up compared to the last three years.

Michael, who comes from the northern region of Kilimanjaro, says that there are more people who are coming in the town particularly the youth.

Mtwara Regional Agricultural Officer, Aman Rusake, says the crop production has been improving in recent years and "this is a result of practical strategies, which are in place to make farmers benefit out of farming."

"We are ensuring that farmers get their money after selling their crop as soon as possible, compared to the past, whereby farmers used to wait for months to get their monies," the official says.

He, however, admits that the farming venture is always done by the elderly as young men claim that the farms are owned by old people so they have nothing to do with them.

“…but we’re encouraging people to grow new and improved seedlings of cashew nuts, which mature earlier than those used in the past," he says, citing cashew nut wilting disease as a new threat to the crop development.

Mtwara Regional Commissioner Halima Dendego describes increasing investment opportunities as a reason for more people to flock to the gas-rich region.

“There are more people who are coming in and look for employment opportunities due to increasing investments. And gas discovery has created markets for different goods including cashew nuts. 

Nowadays, there are many people who solely depend on the nuts to earn their living.”

But, she says that the regional authorities and other players were working hard to ensure that the cash-crop remain stable as it employs a large number of people in the region.

Dendegu describes the gas economy as a catalyst that stimulates other ventures including cashew nuts "so I don't know why some people should fear about it."

What cashew nut researchers say?

Prof Peter Massawe, lead researcher of cashew nut from Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) says the current strategies are to ensure that the crop is grown on a wider scale.

“We want to see the crop grown in as far as central Tanzania. We have developed a number of technologies ranging from improved seedlings to agronomical practices.”

Mudhihir Mudhihir, Vice chairman of Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) points out that the farming venture was progressing well to the extent that the board mulls taking the crop to other parts of the country such as Ruvuma, Morogoro, Dodoma and Singida regions.

The CBT official is optimistic that this year cashew nut production will be more than 150,000 tonnes.
“In the next three years, we’re targeting to increase production from 150,000 to 400,000 tonnes.”
It is estimated that 90 percent of Tanzanian cashew nuts are exported in raw form and most of them end up in India.

In the 2016/2017 harvesting season, cap price for grade 1, will be 1,300/-, and 1,040/- for grade 2.

Tanzania ranks as the eight-largest producer of cashew nuts in the world, and is the continent’s biggest grower after Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea­-Bissau, according to 2012 statistics from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Gas production

Tanzania made significant discoveries of natural gas in 1974 at Songosongo in Lindi Region. In the 1980s more findings were made at Mnazi Bay in Mtwara Region, though its commercial production started a few years ago.

The gas pipeline has been built from Mtwara to the country’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam, where it is used in power generation, industrial and domestic use.

It is estimated that Tanzania has about 55 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable natural gas reserves off its southern coastline.


Tanzania: PM Orders Change of Cashew Board

18 October 2016

Lindi — Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has ordered minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Charles Tizeba to restructure the management and board of directors of the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania in a fresh bid to increase its efficiency.
Addressing resident of Nachingwea District at the Sokoine Stadium on Sunday, Mr Majaliwa said he was not satisfied with the performance of the Cashewnut Board which he said had failed to deliver.
"I am told holding cashewnut auctions are now one of the functions of the board. This is wrong! This business should be under cooperatives. I wonder how the board can manage all cashewnut auctions in the region," he said.
He noted that the board should act as an arbiter in solving complaints among growers in case they were not satisfied with the auctions.
He charged at the board for failing to implement his directive that requires cashewnut buyers to deposit a bond equivalent to 25 per cent of the value of the crops they want to buy.
The board continues to conduct auctions in Mtwara region without requiring bidders to deposit the bond.
He added that the board stopped the auctions in Lindi on Friday after they learned that he would make a tour of the region, because Lindi bidders had not posted any bonds.
"I gave the directive in April but the board has continued to conduct auctions in total disregard of my instruction. Why then did they stop Lindi auctions on Friday? You should have gone forward with the auction contrary to the government's directive," Mr Majaliwa said.
He said it was time officials adhered to government's directives or else step aside.
He also ordered the board to stop forcing cashew farmers to open bank accounts, noting that the management was supposed to educate farmers on the importance of using banking facilities instead of forcing them to.
How can you force a farmer who sells five kgs of cashews to open an account at the cost of Sh100, 000 many times more than his or her income?" queried Mr Majaliwa.
Tanzania is one of the largest cashewnut producers in Africa. It produces an average of 130,000 tonnes of the produce annually. About 117,000 tonnes of the crops are exported to India.
The yield nearly collapsed in the early 1980's but it bounced back later in the decade after economic liberalisations ended the monopoly of the Cashewnut Marketing Board by allowing private buyers.
Further progress came after the warehouse receipt system was introduced.
But problems have continued bedevilling farmers, mostly due to lack of value addition. Most of the cashewnut is exported in the raw form and in poor quality, thus reducing its prices.

Thứ Hai, ngày 17 tháng 10 năm 2016

Africa: ''Enormous opportunities for foreign investors in cashew industry''

17 Oct. 2016

The Managing Director/CEO of African Cashew Alliance (ACA), Dr. Babafemi Oyewole, says investment in cashew farming can help Nigeria in its diversification efforts from a mono product economy. Cashew, he explains in an interview with Daniel Essiet, has high prospects of attracting foreign direct investments if the right things are done.

What do you see as the role for Western-based agribusinesses in Africa?

Africa can learn a lot from the Western-based agribusiness model, which is to run agriculture as a business enterprise. This is because, agriculture in Africa has not been developed or seen as a business activity and this explains why the educated elite are shying away from going into it. Agriculture is still largely practiced for subsistence living and this explains the large scale poverty in agricultural communities in Africa. This is also where the government has a lot to do in sensitising the population, particularly the youth, that they can become millionaires and billionaires if they engage in agribusiness. However, given that Africa has a large population, mechanisation of agribusiness will have to be gradual. This is what we are seeing in the cashew industry, where labour is still being employed for shelling and peeling cashew nuts.

Is the cashew industry open to foreign direct investment and/or partnerships between local and foreign companies in its agribusi-ness market?

Like any other industry, the cashew industry is open to foreign direct investment and partnerships between local and foreign companies. Due to the enormous opportunities in the cashew industry in Africa, a lot of foreign investors have partnered local entrepreneurs to set up plantations and processing factories that are adding value to the crop in the continent. Cashew processing, for example, is a capital and technology intensive business that is often beyond most local investors, so foreign investment has complemented local investors in the industry. Actually, the modest improvement in cashew processing in Africa from three prer cent in 2006 to about 15 per cent in 2015 has been made possible by foreign investors such as Olam, Fludor, etc, with cashew processing factories in countries, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Benin Republic.

Publication date: 10/17/2016

Vinacas invites stakeholders comments on - (Dried RCN in Shell Specification) and (RCN Trade Contract)

16 Oct. 2016

Vinacas invites stakeholders comments on - (Dried RCN in Shell Specification) and (RCN Trade Contract)

Source: Cashew info

Thứ Bảy, ngày 15 tháng 10 năm 2016

Franc CFA losing its value while Ghana and Guinea increase cocoa and cashew production

Franc CFA losing its value while Ghana and Guinea increase cocoa and cashew production

15 Oct. 2016

Ghana’s increment of producer price of cocoa, the Franc CFA and cashew production in Guinea are the focus of Business Africa this week with Afolake Oyinloye.

Ghana’s increment of producer price of cocoa

Ghana is the world’s second-largest cocoa producer but cocoa farmers in the country are not happy with the low producer price of cocoa despite the recent government’s increment of the price.
Claire Muthinji and Jean-David Mihamle report on the issue.

The west and central African franc: subjects of criticism

The West and Central African franc are outdated and need to be reviewed, says the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Carlos Lopes.
Since this statement late last month, the issue has been the top of the agenda for many financial institutions and experts.
Fatoumata Traore and Michael Dibie give us some details.

Guinea Conakry: Exploitation of cashew nuts

Guinea Conakry is experiencing a blossom in cashew production.The government says it’s a way of diversifying the economy.
Already the World Bank has forecasted an economic rebound of 4% in 2016.
William Bayiha and Elayne Wangalwa give an in depth story.
Afolake Oyinloye

Thứ Tư, ngày 12 tháng 10 năm 2016

Tanzania: Mkinga cashew farmers grapple with ravaging pests

CASHEW was once one of the leading export earning crops in the country, grown only in the Southern Regions – Lindi and Mtwara until a decade or so ago. In Coast Region, a few plants would be spotted amidst shrubs.

The crop is still dominated by southern regions where hundreds of trees are gown, with a single farmer owning as much as 300 hectares – quite a remarkable stride, at least in as far as Tanzania’s standard is concerned.
Other regions, having learnt about the economic benefits of the crop, are engaging in cashew farming, one of them Tanga, where a total of 187,041trees have so far been planted, most of them now at harvesting stage.
Mkinga District, the newest administrative district, established in 2006, after a split from Muheza, is leading, closely followed by Pangani. The crop had, until recently, been benefiting the farmers dismally in that most of the raw cashew was smuggled across the border to Kenya, until a few years when local leaders ‘woke up from slumber’ and arrested the situation. They did so through formation of public auction and revival of agricultural marketing societies.
An equally challenging and distressing problem was the attack of cashew trees by diseases and insect pests which are presently no longer a threat in southern regions where farmers there are now able to deal with the problem effectively.
“Cashew trees are prone to attack by about twenty one diseases”, says Nzaro Kijo, Mkinga District Cashew Coordinator – a seasoned expert in management of cashew trees. At the launch of this season’s insecticide spraying of trees, which was hosted recently at Horohoro Kijijini, hardly three kilometers from the Tanzania – Kenya common border, emphasis was made on the use of insecticides.
The use of insecticide, pesticide and fungicide is, according to Kijo, aimed at tackling the disease squarely so that trees grow healthily and produce cashew nut of better quality and in sufficient quantity, hence increasing farmers’ purchasing power as well as create earnings for district council. The launch was attended by extension officers from the district’s villages as well as extension officers neighbouring the district.
Also in attendance was a Kikohoki cashew growing group, thirty of them, who are famous in the growing and developing tree seedlings through nurseries. The group also deals in processing cashew nuts and prevention of various diseases affecting the crop. Several farmers groups from villages in the district had earlier, about two years ago, undergone training on prevention of diseases affecting cashew trees.
The seminars had been conducted jointly by Commission of Science and Technology (COSTECH) and Mkinga District Council. The most serious scourge affecting the trees, according to cashew experts, is powdery mildew – a fungal disease caused by small fungi not visible by naked eye, except microscope. The virus affect all tender parts of a tree as well as those sprouting from the stem, mostly tender branches or leaves.
In the words of Kijo, the disease can be controlled by occasional weeding, thinning –that is removal of overcrowded trees and proper pruning to allow aeration. It can also be controlled by chemical use – those approved by Tanzania Pest Research Institute (TPRI) followed by trials carried out by Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute (NARI). Another equally destructive elements are insect pests.
These minute creatures suck juice from all tender parts of a tree - creating entry points for other organisms which cause disease, resultant effect being low quality of raw cashewnuts and poor quality of cashewnuts. Cashew blight, another hopeless disease, appear where rains are intermittent – raining out of season.
They manifest themselves in black spots on leaves, causing leaves to ultimately wither and dry up. Use of chemicals through spraying is the solution. So far, the district has trained over 600 farmers and extension officers on the use of pesticides, insecticides and fungicide, according to the co-ordinator.
Kijo says a total of 13 wards and 24 villages have been supplied with motor blowers. “We are working with the number we have, but more blowers are needed to satisfy the demand of the growing number of farmers in need of the items,” he says.
Mkinga District has a total of 2563 farmers who have so far cultivated 187,041 trees-almost all at harvesting stage. A kilogramme of cashewnut earns 1,600/= on average, against 400/= sold in black market previously. *Peter Mohamed is a veteran journalist based in Tanga.