On his tour of the cash growing Mtwara Region in the south of Tanzania, President Magufuli ordered thorough inspection and assessment of privatized cashew nut processing industries countrywide and repossession of all dormant plants.
He directed the ministries of Industry and Trade and Agriculture to jointly carry out the inspection and assessment. He stated that the country cannot continue seeing the government encouraging people to increase cashew nut production without reliable processors of the produce. The president urged all the people who had been entrusted by the government to operate the cashew nut processing factories to concentrate on the purchase of the crop as it now appears they have failed to operate the firms, and hand back ownership of the plants to the government.
He noted that majority of the people who had been entrusted with operating the factories had actually done nothing, citing a minister in the third phase government (whom he did not name) who used the cashew factory as collateral to obtain a loan from a financial institution, and instead used the money in other issues.
The president therefore instructed the Agriculture Minister, Mr. Japheth Hasunga to immediately confiscate the factory from the former minister, and warned that the matter would be filed to court should the owners oppose the confiscation. He told the Agriculture Minister in case the owners resist, he should file a case charging them with lost earnings to the government during the period when the factories were not functioning, with interest inclusive.
He also stated that he had spoken to one person through the phone who promised to revive a factory in one month, and directed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry to remain in Mtwara and ensure that all dormant cashew factories are handed back to the government.
Tanzania currently has eight operational cashew processing factories including five that were privatized; which are Micronix System Limited (Newala II), Mtwara Cashew Company (MCC) 2005, Export Trading Company Limited (Tunduru), Micronix System Limited (Likombe) and Safa Petroleum and Mineral Company (Kibaha). The other three private owned companies are Naliendele Agricultural Research Institute, Amama Farmers and Hawte Investment Limited.
The eight operational factories are among the 23 cashew processing facilities whose annual combined and operational capacity is 42,200 tonnes and 11,142 tonnes respectively. Fifteen factories are currently not operational for various reasons and they include Agro Focus Company Ltd (Newala I), BUCCO Investment Ltd (Lindi), Lindi Farmers` Company (Nachingwea), Mohammed Enterprises (T) Ltd (Tanita II) and Cielmac Company Ltd (Tanita I). Others are Olam Tanzania Ltd (Likombe Warehouse), Southern Jumbo Cashewnuts Ltd, Masasi High Quality Farmers (Chakama), UVUKI Cashew nut Factory, Kitama Farmers Group Factory, Perfect Cashew Kernels and Demros.