The army purchased the crops for more than what private traders offered
By Diego Flammini
Tanzania’s federal government took unique action to ensure the country’s cashew producers received a fair price for their crops.
In October, President John Magufuli “ordered a 94 percent increase in cashew nut prices at (Cashew Board of Tanzania) auctions,” Business Day reported.
The organization regulates the “development of the cashew industry in Tanzania,” its website says.
Magufuli then imposed a Nov. 12 deadline for traders to come up with better prices for Tanzanian cashews.
President John Magufuli
About 13 companies offered to buy cashews for around US$1.30 per kilogram (2.2 lbs.).
Those prices weren’t acceptable, Magufuli said, so he told the Tanzanian People’s Defence Forces to buy the harvests at a price of US$1.43 per kg.
About 75 trucks, each capable of carrying 1,500 tonnes of weight, traveled to local farms to pick up the nuts.
“The president said he wanted to ensure that thousands of farmers got a fair price for their cashew nuts and secure vital export earnings,” BBC reported.
Tanzania is Africa’s largest cashew grower after Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, and is the eighth-largest producer in the world.
Cashew farmers in the country produce an average of 130,000 tonnes of cashews annually and export about 117,000 tonnes to India.
Tanzania’s total cashew exports in 2015 totaled about US$250 million, a Bank of Tanzania report says.
President Magufuli removed his agriculture and trade ministers for their handling of the situation.
Magufuli also dissolved the Cashew Board of Tanzania and removed its chair.
Tanzanians will vote in a general election in 2020. These actions could be a strategy to build popularity in opposition regions, Magufuli’s opposers told BBC.
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