Main cashew producing regions have outlined strategies aimed at increasing crop production in the next five years.
The main five regions are Mtwara, Lindi, Ruvuma, Coast and Tanga.
These unveiled the strategies including increasing the size of farm land for cashews production, using improved seeds and timely application of agriculture implements.
Other strategies are improving extension services, replacing old trees with improved varieties and introduction of bloc farming.
Representatives of the five regions recently revealed the strategies during a stakeholders meeting in Mtwara Region.
Speaking during the event, a representative from Mtwara Region, Mr Ally Lichenje, said the region had approximately 21 million cashewnut trees.
He said the region increased production from 118,574 tonnes in 2020/21 to 125,819 tonnes in 2021/22, noting that more efforts were required to consolidate its position as a major cashew producer.
“Farmers earned Sh276.8 billion from the total amount sold. The 125,819 tonnes was traded in 26 auctions held by the Tandahimba and Newala Cooperative Union (Tanecu) as well as the Masasi and Mtwara Cooperative Union (Mamcu),” he said.
However, he said the CCM election manifesto 2020-25 directs increased production to 700,000 tonnes from 300,000 through an increase of the region’s increased contribution to 60 percent.
He said Mtwawa Region would be required to increase production to 420,000 tonnes by 2025, making it inevitable to set new production strategies.
“We are planning to increase the size of cashewnut growing land, timely supply and distribution of agricultural inputs, increase production and delivery of improved seeds and seedlings and replacing old trees with new varieties,” he said.
Mr Mustapher Magembe, a representative from Lindi Region, for his part said in addition to above listed strategies, his region was planning to start block farming.
Mr Magembe said the region will cooperate with the Tanzania Agriculture Research Institute (Tari)-Naliendele in increasing farmer’s education on modern cashew farming practices.
“The Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) should reinstate provision of funds collected from export levy to councils for capacity building to farmers and experts. Funds should also be used for improving production and distribution of better seeds,” he said.
He said agriculture inputs should reach farmers before April each year in order to facilitate timely application in cashewnut trees.
According to him, the region traded 65,975.39 tonnes of the merchandise in 2021/22 and that 10.632 tonnes and 24.9 tonnes others couldn’t be sold in Liwale and Mtama districts respectively.
Kibiti District agriculture officer Bwenda Bainga who represented Coast Region said timely distribution of agriculture inputs to farmers was among the regions’ strategy.
He said CBT should build the capacity of crop coordinators through provision of working equipment such as motorbikes, computers and allowances.
“CBT should strengthen the establishment of cashew nurseries for distribution to farmers, and intensify campaigns to take care of cashew farms through proper use of inputs,” he said.
Mr Bainga said Agriculture Marketing Cooperative Unions (Amcos) will be given quality control equipment, give them grading training, replace old trees with improved seeds and attract investment.
A representative from Ruvuma Region, Mr Onesmo Ngao, said the region produced 25,242.5 tonnes this season, surpassing the 25,000 production target made last season attributing to reliable supply of inputs and pests control measures.
“The region requires 3.031 tonnes of powder sulphur and 380,000 litres of liquid sulphur in the 2022/23 season. We are targeting to produce 25,999 tonnes that will gradually increase to 28,307 tonnes in the 2025/26 season,” he said.
Tanga regional agriculture officer Mery Faustine said the region plans to increase the number of cashew farmers through empowered agriculture officers who would be responsible to include in the database all unregistered farmers from remote areas.
“Apart from farmers’ registration, extension officers will strategically advise farmers in order to increase production to 10,000 tonnes by 2025/26,” she said.
According to her, cashews production area would be increased from 35,000 acres in 2020/21 to 50,000 in 2025/26 through revival of abandoned farms.
Furthermore, she said the Tanga Cashewnut Cooperative Union (Tacacu) will ensure that through CBT, Tari-Naliendele and Councils agriculture inputs are timely accessed and distributed to farmers as well as introducing 45 acres farms for production of improved seeds.