Mozambique: Cashew production hits 10-year low

Mozambique’s cashew nuts production fell dramatically in agricultural season 2011/2012, the lowest in the last ten years.

In that period production reached 64,000 tonnes, down from the 113,000 reported in the previous year, when Mozambique also reached its peak in cashew production.

Quoted in the daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”, director of the government’s National Cashew Institute (INCAJU), Filomena Maiopue, attributes the decline to year-to-year natural variations of the cashew tree.

Speaking last week, on the sidelines of INCAJU national meeting on planning, held in the district of Dondo, in the central province of Sofala, Maiopue explained that "when cashew peaks in a certain year it is followed by a sharp decline in the following year. This is the natural cycle of the cashew tree."

Also, the last marketing season was marked by a 40 per cent decline compared to the previous year, said Maiopue, explaining that this was due to the world’s economic downturn that reduced demand for cashew nuts in the international market.

Other factors that contributed for the poor marketing season include low selling prices, which fell from 19 meticais (about 68 cents of the US dollar) to 13 meticais per kilo.

"This forced a number of producers to retain their production hoping to get better prices later, which never happened due to the lack of money," she said, adding that currently there huge amounts of cashew nuts in possession of peasant farmers.

Cashew is one of the major sources for much needed hard currency in the country. Official figures reveal that cashew exports rose from 13.7 million US dollars in 2000 to 39.5 million dollars in 2010.

To boost production, last year INCAJU approved its master plan for the period 2011/2020, which among others envisages an increase in the amount of unprocessed nuts sold by peasant producers to reach the figure of 180,000 tonnes a year by 2020.

Post published in: Africa News

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