The Aritle is Written by Kingston Food Machinery
Cashew is just one of many fruit species growing in importance in Tanzania, including both agriculture and economic development. This viable fruit crop has a high potential for export. Its commercial production can provide a significant source of income for many farmers.
When fully developed and industrially exploited, the cashew industry can alleviate many of the socio-economic problems by providing employment to the many unemployed people in Tanzania. A cashew cottage industry, for example, can easily accommodate idle manpower in rural areas because many cashew products require only the workers’ normal skills.
Cashew Nut Production in Tanzania
After coffee, cotton, and tea, cashew is Tanzania’s fourth most valuable export crop. Since the mid-twentieth century, there has been a steady increase in production. Higher cashew prices and globalized marketing have recently created an opportunity that have urged farmers to resolve several biological production constraints. As a consequence, cashew production has steadily increased from 16,500 in 1986 to 121,135 in 2011, with exports increasing from around 70,000 in 2005 to 113,374 in 2011.
Though this crop is grown in the Coastal and Tanga Regions, its economic significance to the rural population in those areas is limited. This is due in part to the availability of alternative crops. This also generates income for farmers as well as increases the availability of nonagricultural income in those areas. Farmers in the southern Coastal Regions of Mtwara and Lindi depend on the crop for more than three-quarters of their total cash income.
The Importance of Cashew Sales in Tanzania
Cashews are a major source of income for approximately 250,000 Tanzanian smallholder farmers. They are extremely crucial in Tanzania’s southern coastal region, where even the districts of Mtwara, Lindi, as well as Ruvuma produce 80 to 90% of the country’s marketed cashew crop. These are three of Tanzania’s poorest districts, and cashews are commonly the only source of cash income for poor farmers. Cashew nuts are also important to the Tanzanian economy, accounting for 18% of the country’s merchandise total exports in 1999. Agriculture’s economic viability stems from the fact that it helps generate a significant amount of foreign exchange for the country and contributes greatly to GDP. In terms of foreign exchange earnings, the cashew nut is also significant in comparison to other cash crops. On average, it contributes significantly to 4% of the country’s total foreign exchange earnings.
Cashews are well suited to Tanzania and poor farmer production. The cashew tree’s drought tolerance acts as a hedge against crop failure. Because of its ability to grow in poor soils and intercrop with food crops, it is an ideal product for small farmers. Fertilization stimulates production, but the cashew tree can produce nuts even without the use of purchased inputs. Cashew nuts are both consumed as a food and exported.
Cashew Processing in Tanzania
The majority of farmers are senior citizens and depend on manual labor instead of machinery. Cashew processing in Tanzania began in the 1960s, Raw nuts, cashew kernels, as well as cashew nut shell liquid are the three main cashew products traded on the international market, while the fourth product, cashew apple, is generally processed and consumed locally.
In general, the traditional method of processing raw cashew nuts into edible cashew kernels includes the following steps: roasting, shelling (cashew nut shelling machine), drying, peeling (automatic cashew peeling machine), grading (cashew kernel grading machine), quality controls, fumigation, steaming (raw cashew nut steaming machine) as well as packaging. All of these stages must be taken with caution in order to obtain high-quality kernels.
Preparation takes place under clean, hygienic, as well as ideal conditions to ensure quality requirements and avoid contamination of the cashew nuts. Equipment (tubes, knives and so on.), working and drying surfaces (racks, mats and others.), personnel clothing, and storage room preparation are all cleaned on a regular basis.
The raw cashew nut is the cashew tree’s main commercial product, though the cashew apple yields eight to ten times the weight of the raw nuts. Raw nuts are either exported or processed before being shipped. The byproduct CNSL is produced during the processing of raw nuts and also has industrial and medicinal applications. The nut’s skin contains a high concentration of tannins and can be recovered and used in the tanning of hides. The cashew tree’s fruit, which surrounds the kernel, can be made into a vitamin C-rich juice and fermented to produce a high-proof spirit.