FILE PHOTO: A woman holds cashew nuts at a warehouse in Abidjan
INTERNATIONAL - Tanzania expects to raise cashew nuts production by 33.5% in the year to September 2020, helped by favourable weather conditions and increased plantings, its agriculture minister said on Saturday.

Output in 2019/2020(October-September) is seen reaching 300,000 tonnes, up from the 225,000 tonnes produced in the 2018/2019 season.

“We expect to get a bigger harvest in the coming season, with our cashew nut production likely to rise to more than 300,000 tonnes,” the minister, Japhet Hasunga, told Reuters.

“This forecast of increased output is attributed to good weather, widespread availability of farming inputs and increased plantings.”

Last year, the government blocked traders from buying the crop from farmers after they could not meet the minimum indicative prices set by the president, and bought the entire crop itself.

President John Magufuli had ordered a 94 percent hike in prices, arguing that farmers were receiving too little for the most valuable of Tanzania’s crop exports.

He then deployed the army to collect the entire crop of over 200,000 tonnes of cashew nuts from farmers.

But in November he sacked two ministers, saying they had failed to secure buyers.

Hasunga told Reuters that the government had eventually sold the 2018/2019 crop to a Vietnamese firm, but would allow private traders to resume buying in 2019/2020.

REUTERS