The Tandahimba Newala Cooperative Union (TANECU) has revealed that it sold about 5,390 tonnes of cashew nuts worth TSZ11.6 billion, despite having some of its produce rejected by middlemen for poor quality.
The Union said the produce went for between TSZ2,100 and TSZ2,307 per kilogramme and were auction at Newala, last weekend.
TANECU Vice Chair, Mr. Shaibu Njauka, disclosed that the produce were sold for reduced prices due to the low turnout of buyers.
“The highest price was TSZ2,307 per kilogramme and the lowest was TSZ2,100. The farmers agreed to bid their produce at the prices,” he said.
On his part, Director-General of the Cashew Nut Board of Tanzania, Mr Alfredy Francis urged farmers to ensure the adequate preservation of cashew nuts to maintain their quality and attract good prices.
He blamed the bad cashew nuts received by cooperative unions on post-harvest poor storage and handling by farmers.
The auctioning, earlier done at the Tandahimba District, met a lot of rejection as buyers refused to bid for about 710 tonnes of cashew nuts, claiming the produce had excess moisture.
This prompted the CBT to conduct a quality assurance test on the produce to ascertain its edibility, urging buyers to purchase the produce at the next auction.
CBT Quality Control Officer, James Nindi, said that the inspection carried out by CBT quality expert revealed that the rejected cashew nuts were of first-grade quality.
“According to the quality inspections we have just conducted, the cashew nuts are clean and of first grade,” Nindi said.
However, Mr. Njauka expressed his displeasure over assertions by buyers that TANECU had bad intentions of lowering the prices hence exploiting the farmers.
He said, “It is very disappointing to hear the claims by buyers that our cashews were not of good quality, this is not true.
“We have never messed up with the quality of the cashews that we trade at the auctions, they are always clean and of first-grade quality”.