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GUINEA-BISSAU: Falling cashew exports raise hardship

BISSAU, 15 August 2012 (IRIN) - Cashew nut farmers and traders in Guinea Bissau have been left holding tonnes of produce after India slashed imports, and the low prices being offered are increasing hardship in the coup-prone West African country.

“All of us - the farmers association, cashew nut producers and other operators - are trying to find a solution to this cashew nut export crisis,” said Mama Samba Embalo, the head of the Guinea-Bissau Farmers Association. “If we sell the cashew nuts at low prices, traders will not have the money to repay their bank loans.”

India, the top importer, has increased its domestic production. By July this year, exports reached 60,000 tonnes of cashew nuts compared to more than 100,000 tonnes by the same time in 2011, he said.

The proposed benchmark price of 250 CFA per kilogramme was not respected and prices fell as low as 100 CFA (around 20 US cents). Some 120,000 tonnes of cashew nuts are still stockpiled and awaiting buyers, said trade director Diamantino Cô.

The April 12 coup that overthrew interim Prime Minister and presidential candidate Carols Gomes Jr, and interim President Raimundo Pereira also disrupted cashew trade, increasing insecurity and making buyers reluctant to travel in the country.
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Crédits: AK-Project