Tanzania is one of the largest and best quality producers of cashew nuts in Africa. And with global popularity and demand for cashews “growing faster than any other tree nut” — 53 percent demand jump since 2010, outpacing production in at least four of the past seven years, according to a 2016 report by Bloomberg, the revenue potential seems promising.
For the East African country, cashews are not only a major export crop, but also “a significant source of income for many small farmers”. Tanzania “produces about 200,000 tons of cashews a year” but is short of “value addition in the form of processing of raw cashew and capacity building,” according to a feature in the Forbes.
Fahad Awadh, co-founder of YYTZ Agro-Processing — a full service cashew processing company born in Tanzania — has a similar yet unique story to scores of African returnees. The 29-year old entrepreneur, according to a story in the Forbes, “moved back home from Canada to set up a cashew processing facility in Tanzania in an effort to bring international standards and traceability to the cashew nuts”.
Currently, YYTZ has a flagship processing facility in Zanzibar, and has recently raised $500,000 from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund for investment to establish another processing facility in Mtwara, southeastern Tanzania.
YYTZ’s focus on “farm to table” service approach along with Awadh’s knack for business is not only adding value to Tanzania’s local production of cashews, but is also “creating jobs and boosting the income of farmers and the community as a whole.”
The fundamental objective “is to create value in the Tanzanian cashew industry”, Awadh tells Forbes. “We are working with cashew farmer groups to ensure that they become part of the cashew value chain. We have plans to add more value to the cashews, roasting, flavoring and retail packing”.