Dar es Salaam — A rise in cashew exports boosted the value of traditional exports by 16.75 per cent in the year ending April 2017.
According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) economic review for May, traditional exports improved to $863.6 million from $739.7 million in the year that ended in April 2016, largely powered by cashew nuts.
While the exports of cloves, sisal, tea and tobacco declined, that of cashew nuts improved from $185.9 million to $341.1 million, the report has shown.
The improvement in exports of cashew nuts occurred in both volume and price.
The decline in sisal, tea and tobacco was manifested in volume while that of cloves was contributed by both volume and price, according to BoT. “Noteworthy, the prices of most of the traditional exports were in line with price developments in the world market,” the report reads.
Prof Humphrey Moshi of Economics Department at the University of Dar es Salaam said such a positive effect on traditional export was a result of an improvement in production, removal of hurdles in the disbursement of insecticides, entry of more cashew buyers and timely payment of farmers.
Prof Moshi also said the improvement in agro-marketing system can be used in other crops such as maize, rice, onions and even bananas by creating more incentives to farmers for increased productivity and exports.
“The development of cashew nut marketing system is a driving force for farmers to gain from higher prices and boost in exports. We will witness more gains as the plan for reviving cashew nut factories will be implemented successfully,” he said.
Tanzania was the eighth biggest producer of cashew nuts in the world, 2012 statistics by FO showed. Cashew nut oil is rich in selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron and phosphorous. Also, they are great sources of phytochemicals, proteins and antioxidants. According to Indian nutritionist Anju Sood, the high percentage of selenium in cashews is not only good for your skin but “helps prevent cancer as well”.