A row is simmering between local processors and former exporters of raw cashew nuts in the wake of rising global prices of nuts. Exporters on Tuesday said a government ban on export of raw nuts since 2009 is robbing the country’s farmers the benefits of the high global prices enjoyed by their Tanzanian counterparts. They said they are planning to put up a processing unit in Kenya. “Instead of going into dispute with the local processors, some of us have decided to put up a factory immediately,” said Mr Samuel Varghese, chairman of the Kenya Cashew nut Processors and Exporters Association in a statement appearing in the Nation on Tuesday.
Mr Varghese said he will offer farmers higher prices - a minimum of Sh65 per kilogramme compared to Sh55 per kilogramme that they are getting from the current processors. Drawing comparison from Tanzania where this season saw farmers getting between $1,600 and $1,800 per metric tonne or Sh65 and Sh75 per kilogramme, farmers in Kenya are supposed to receive $1,500 per metric tonne or Sh55 per kilogramme according to Mr Varghese. Nut Processors Association of Kenya (NutPAK) chief executive officer Mr Charles Muigai said international traders, who dominated the market before the ban, are only interested when the world market prices are anticipated to increase. This is when, he said, they would come in with high prices through brokers who pay farmers poor farm gate prices.
Publication date: 3/23/2011