The diverging South: comparing the cashew sectors of Tanzania and Vietnam

Type Book
Title The diverging South: comparing the cashew sectors of Tanzania and Vietnam
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Arriving in Tandahimba District in November 2008, I passed vibrant villages
with occasional cashew trees. Farmers could be seen with buckets of raw cashew,
while young men were manoeuvring push-carts piled high with sacks of raw
cashew. Hopping onto a SANLG motorbike, Mtausi, who became my main companion
during fieldwork, took me around the region’s villages. There were the
sounds of drum beats in a number of them that coincided with kualuka and the
cashew-harvesting season. Young men riding and pushing brightly coloured bicycles
carrying accessories and clothing to sell could also be seen in villages with
ngoma. The singing and dancing seemed to continue all night. My initial impression
that life was good and all was well evaporated abruptly once I started talking
to people about cashew. The on-time delivery of inputs and likaba were common
concerns raised by many, together with those about the newly introduced multitiered
trading system and the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS). Cashew farmers
have seen progress both in terms of production and the amount of money they
earn, but they still depend on the cash they earn from cashew for their other activities.
Yet although progress has been observed in Tandahimba compared to
similar cashew-producing districts elsewhere, concerns were voiced regarding
the magnitude of the progress.
In November 2009, and initially as a pilot project, I visited Binh Duong Province
about 68 km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City.
The cashew trees there are
planted close together and are smaller in size, with cashew fields alternating with
plantations of rubber trees. Most people travelled by motorbike and I rarely met
people on foot. And when I was on fieldwork in January 2010, the same could be
seen in Bugiamap, the country’s ‘cashew kingdom’ and the highest cashewproducing
district in Binh Phuoc Province.

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