(Bloomberg) -- Tanzania gave cashews traders four days to purchase the nuts directly from farmers at a price recommended by the government or have their licenses revoked.

Cashews are Tanzania’s most valuable export crop after tobacco and falling prices prompted farmers to halt sales after operational costs rose above earnings. President John Magufuli subsequently set a 3,000-shilling ($1.30) per kilogram (2.2 pounds) minimum rate on Oct. 26, raising the price from the 1,550 shillings recommended by the industry regulator, which led to a trader boycott at auctions.

“Due to the challenges cashew nut farmers faced, we agreed with all players in the sector that the price should not be less than 3,000 shillings,” Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said in a speech aired on state-broadcaster TBC. “However, we have continued to witness limited trading at subsequent auctions, which is not acceptable. We must pay our farmers the right price.”

Tanzania has at least 35 licensed traders and the government may consider inviting international buyers if the local ones continue to stay away from the auction, Majaliwa said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ken Karuri in Dar es Salaam at kkaruri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net, Helen Nyambura, Jacqueline Mackenzie

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