Smart Solutions: Tanzanian Entrepreneur Raises $500,000 to process Cashew nuts in Tanzania!

If you're not aware, Tanzania is One of the largest producers of cashewnuts in Africa,  and cashew nut exports provide Tanzania ten to fifteen percent of the country's foreign exchange. The country is the 8th largest grower of cashews in the world and ranks 4th in Africa. The country provides 20% of Africa’s cashews...but Over 90% of the national harvest is exported to India for processing. The other 10% is being processed by OLAM Tanzania, Korosho Africa and METL. However, they do not suffice the national output....tada tadaa...and who comes to the rescue..
Fahad Awadh,! An ambitious 29-year old entrepreneur and owner of YYTZ Agro-Processing, a cashew processing company that is adding value locally while creating jobs and boosting the income of farmers and the community as a whole. The company’s flagship processing facility in Zanzibar has an installed capacity of 2,500 Tons per annum.

YYTZ Agro-Processing recently raised a $500,000 investment from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund to establish another processing facility in Mtwara, southeastern Tanzania. 
Kudos to young people providing smart solutions to Tanzania's economy in different sectors! I'm impressed!

Read His story from Forbes ( you can read the full interview there)
Yes, I grew up and lived in Canada for the majority of my former years. I recently returned to Tanzania with the intention to invest. It was always a dream of mine to come home and set up a business. After a visit to Tanzania in late 2012, I decided that I would explore opportunities in processing and value-addition. Tanzania is very resource rich country, but like many in Africa it lacks local value addition. I saw this as an opportunity. I spent a lot of time travelling around rural Tanzania, meeting with farmers and understanding the cashew sector. I practice a principle I learned from The Toyota Motor Corporation called genchi genbutsu; this means going to the source and seeing for your self. This thorough research helped me make informed decisions about our business. After the extensive research into the cashew nut sector, I concluded there was a real need for processing and value addition.
Tanzania is the fourth/fifth largest producer of cashews in the world, yet we were/are exporting 80% of our crop raw. Further more our crop is being processed in other countries and then re-exported to the developed markets.After deciding to invest, I partnered with my father, who was retiring after a career as a commercial pilot. I developed a thorough business plan. We decided to invest in a modern processing plant that would utilize automated equipment. This would make our operation more efficient and give us economies of scale. We travelled to Vietnam, which is the largest cashew exporter in the world. The Vietnamese have been able to achieve tremendous growth by advancing the mechanization of cashew processing. We visited one of the top-five largest factories and studied their operations, learning best practices. We purchased our cashew-specific equipment from reputable Vietnamese manufacturers.
At the same time the commercial viability of our project depended on having an export market. I began researching and cold-emailing companies in Europe and North America. My goal was to get interest from a buyer. This would help us when we later needed to access financing. I was able to secure a buyer in Netherlands. They came to visit us this past September, at which time we finalized our export contract. We are now in the final stages of installing our equipment and beginning production in our Zanzibar factory.We recently won funding of $500,000 from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund. We have been working with cashew farmer groups in the Mtwara region to help them add value to their own crop and earn more income. We will be using these funds to build a Cashew Farmer Processing Centre. Our facility will have modern equipment and adequate storage facilities. Farmers will be assured of a market, as we will be the sole off-takers. We will purchase the semi-processed cashews and finish the processing in our Zanzibar factory. We will be providing financial literacy and business skills training for our farmer groups, as well as food safety training. By integrating them in the cashew value chain, the farmers will be able to earn more from their crop. By empowering farmers we can help to alleviate poverty in rural Tanzania.Our fundamental objective in cashew processing is to create value in the Tanzanian cashew industry. 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. We are focused on running an efficient operation with an emphasis on quality and food safety. We have built our factory and designed our processes to meet and exceed international food safety standards. Food safety is an important aspect of the cashew sector that is being emphasized by discerning buyers.