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Kenya cashew industry tries to recover from after-effects of ban
Kenya has run into difficulties with its ban on the export of shelled cashews. Kenyan cashew producers have blamed the massive fall in exports over the past few years on the government’s ban on the process of unshelled cashews that was introduced in 2009.
Total annual exports fell from 835 tonnes in 2013 to 485 tonnes in 2015. However, it has been reported in Kenya that some farmers feel that traders have been offering very low prices for raw cashews in order to increase the profitability of processing. Despite this, South Africa’s success with macadamia processing suggests that domestic processing is achievable for Kenya.
It has also been suggested that the prices paid have fallen so far that some farmers have dug up their cashew trees and switched to other crops.
The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council Foundation (INC) Kenya representative, Mbugua Nugi, said of the ban: “Its genesis and intention was and still remains to encourage more value-addition through processing of raw cashew within Kenya’s borders and support the economy by providing jobs and more foreign exchange earnings.”
Under its Vision 2030 for the national economy, Kenya wants to turn the country from a primary producer into an exporter of manufactured and processed goods. Nairobi is trying to counter the problem by offering subsidised seedlings.
The development of cashew processing plants within Africa would give the continent more control over the sector. A plant currently being built in Nigeria’s Oyo State is expected to open by the end of the year, but many other similar facilities are required in the rest of the continent if the continent’s relegation to the status of primary producer is to come to an end.
Publication date: 9/18/2017
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