Tanzania and much ado about cashew nuts

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Tanzanian President John Magufuli has reportedly sacked both the agriculture and trade ministers and threatened to deploy the military.

Reports say this is over a cashew nut crisis.

Traders have been given a Monday deadline to buy crops from farmers at an approved price, and not below.

If this does not happen, Magufuli said he will send dozens of military trucks to collect the entire crop.

Cashew nut exports are a major foreign-currency earner for Tanzania.

Farmers have for weeks been refusing to sell their harvests, arguing that the private traders’ offers are too low.

On Saturday, [yesterday] Magufuli accused traders of attempting to rip off thousands of farmers and ordered them to increase their price offers to around $1.3 (£1; €1.15) per kilogram (2.2 pounds).

The president says he is working to ensure thousands of farmers get a fair price for their cashew nuts and also so that the country does not miss out on vital export earnings.

He added that if he is forced to deploy the army to round up the supplies of cashew nuts, his government will buy them.

Following the sackings of the agriculture minister, Charles Tizeba, and the trade and investment minister, Charles Mwijage, Magufuli has appointed two other ministers and four deputies.

He has also disbanded the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT) and has revoked the appointment of the board chair, Anna Abdallah.

This is not the first time that the country has suffered such a crisis.

According to the BBC, In 2013, riots by cashew nut farmers and other protesters in southern Tanzania led to some 20 properties being burned down.

The trouble began after traders began paying farmers less for their crop than had been previously agreed.

As a result  of this, the police were deployed to the region to stop more unrest.

‘AFRICAN BUSINESS’  has described Tanzania as one of the largest producers of cashew nuts in Africa.
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