Authorities in southwestern Tanzania’s region of Mbeya intend to introduce cashew nuts farming in a new drive to spur the economy of the east African nation, officials said on Monday.

Mbeya Regional Administrative Secretary Nyasebwa Chimagu told Xinhua that the move is part of the government’s strategies to boost revenue and alleviate poverty in the region bordering Zambia and Malawi.

In Tanzania, cashew nuts production is concentrated in the southern coastal regions of Pwani, Lindi, and Mtwara, which account for over 80 percent of total plant area and production.

Mbeya is well-known for producing cereal crops as well as coffee, cocoa, and pyrethrum.

According to Chimagu, recent studies carried out by the government have shown that the crop can be grown in three sub-districts of Chunya, Mbarali, and Kyela of Mbeya, where the climatic condition favors cashew nuts farming.

“Trials have been made in those districts and it was proved that cashew nuts are performing well. So, as authorities we’ve come up with a strategy that will make the crop as one of the key cash crops in the region,” he said.

He said that Tanzania is well known for producing premium quality cashew nuts with higher prices in the world markets compared to other African countries.

“That’s why we want our people to venture into that farming and explore that opportunity,” Chimagu said.

Mbeya Regional Commissioner Amos Makalla said the idea behind introducing cashew farming is meant to explore all ventures available in the country’s farming sector.

“We’re encouraging farmers to swiftly start venturing into cashew farming because of its high value in the market and promising future,” the official said.

Tanzania ranks eighth in cashew nuts production in the world. It is Africa’s fourth biggest grower, after Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and Guinea­-Bissau, according to 2012 statistics from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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