Mozanbique's cashew production has dipped to a 10-year low this agricultural season after registering a peak in production last year
Production dropped to 64,000 tonnes from the 113,000 tonnes reported in the previous year.
National Cashew Institute’s (INCAJU) director, Filomena Maiopue, said, “The decline in production is quite normal as natural variations are often registered in cashew productions across the world.”
She added that when cashew peaks in a certain year its production registers a sharp drop in the following year and this is the natural cycle of the cashew tree.
The marketing season was marked by a 40 per cent decline compared to the previous year, she said, explaining that it 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 MZN 19 (68 cents of the US dollar) to MNN 13 (46 cents) per kilogramme.
“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.
Cashew is one of the major sources for the much-needed hard currency in the country. Official figures reveal that cashew exports rose from US$13.7 million dollars in 2000 to $39.5 million in 2010.
To boost production, last year INCAJU approved a master plan for the period 2011-2020 which, among others, envisaged an increase in the amount of unprocessed nuts sold by peasant producers to reach the figure of 180,000 tonnes a year by 2020.