By Azania Post Reporter
MAFIA district in Coast region has embarked on a campaign to revive cashew nut plant in order to enable local residents to get an alternative trade. Coconut is the main stay of residents in Mafia and nearby coastal areas of Tanzania.
Speaking, the Mafia District Commissioner, Shaibu Nunduma said the work to revive the crop started last year where as extension officers from the office of district executive director have visited all villages to sensitize farmers.
He said it was realized that the cashew nut plant can be grown at the area could improve the living standard of the people since its price has been on rise.
According to him, last year’s campaign has proved success, the first time the district conducted an auction, 66 tons of cashewnuts were sold.
He noted a total of 23,000 old cashew nut plants were revived and farmers were given new seedlings.
According to the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT), earnings from crop sales in the four southern regions of Lindi, Mtwara, Ruvuma and Coast in the just ended season clocked over a trillion shillings.
Acting director of the board, Hassan Jarufu said that several cashew nut auctions within financial year 2017/2018 had clocked a record 1.08trl/-.
Speaking at a ceremony to welcome New Year 2018 in Lindi region, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa was quoted saying that the people within the area were a representative sample of all other regions, especially on the cashew nut plant.
He urged the area residents to tap the opportunities that still await further exploitation. The PM gave ten million seedlings to Ruangwa residents in Lindi region, over the theme: "Cashew nut is the green gold, let's preserve and conserve it."
The PM advised youth to work on the opportunities that the crop holds, stressing that they all "stand to benefit from new business opportunities." "The world's demand for cashew nut is gigantic ... it's consumed in hotels, airplanes and the price remains very high," he said.
Majaliwa said he believes that every youth who dares can exploit the potential to great advantage, arguing each one of them "can do it" further 'coaching' the youth that an acre needs just 37 to 40 seedlings - and challenged them to "grab these opportunities."
Available data show that about 90 per cent of Tanzanian cashew nuts is exported to India in raw form, with the small portion, less than 10 per cent, processed in the country.
The country has huge potential of expanding production and increasing productivity as well as adding value of the cash crop beyond the current 10 per cent, making use of byproducts, as well.