After months of sitting with farmers produce worth millions with no buyer in sight, Indopower Solutions, a little-known Kenyan firm, has inked a deal to buy at least 100,000 tonnes of raw cashewnuts for Tsh418 billion ($180 million).
The sale deal was signed on Wednesday at the Arusha-based East African Community headquarters between Tanzania's Director of Cereals and Produce Board, Dr Hussein Mansour and Indopower Solutions CEO Mr Brian Mutembei.
The crop is part of the 213,000 tonnes that the Tanzania government has been holding after President John Magufuli ordered the entire cashewnut harvest be bought directly from the farmers in October for $1.43 (Tsh3,300) per kilogramme.
Joseph Kakunda, Minister for Industries and Trade expressed a sigh of relief and the sale was a boost to the government's efforts to find market for its most valuable export crop.
He added that some 18 foreign processing firms have also shown interest in buying the crop from Tanzania.
The bulk of the raw cashewnuts are shipped from Tanzania and other African countries to be processed, mainly in Vietnam and India.
Mr Mutembei said cashews would be processed and re-exported.
"Hauling of the cashews would commence anytime from next week," Mr Mutembei said in Arusha.
In Africa, Tanzania ranks fourth in the production of cashewnuts, accounting for 20 per cent of the regional market share while globally the country ranks the eighth with the Far Eastern countries taking the top slots, according to the Food Agricultural Organisation.
In Africa, Tanzania is preceded by Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau and Cote d'Ivoire.