Guinea-Bissau has failed to sell half of its cashew nut crop, its main export earner, a blow to the local economy which is still reeling from an April coup, a trade official said Tuesday.
"We are in a worrying situation. We have 75,000 tonnes of cashews which we could not sell, and another 15,000 tonnes which has not yet been collected," said Secretary of State for Trade Braima Alfa Djalo.
Production this year was estimated at 150,000 tonnes, down from a high of 200,000 tonnes in 2011.
"Our traders don't yet have contracts to export their products. Buyers are not falling over each other and some are offering very low prices," he said.
Only 40,000 tonnes of cashews left the Bissau port in June, according to the national cashew commission, headed to India which is the main buyer of the country's crop that accounted for 90 percent of all exports last year.
After the April overthrow of the government in the chronically unstable nation, farmers struggled to sell their product to traders who could not get access to funds.
The national cashew commission blamed an increase in production in nations such as India, Brazil and Costa Rica for the fall in cashew prices in the international market.
While the west African nation is better known as a failed state crippled by cocaine trafficking to Europe, its unprocessed cashews are its main earner, most of them exported to bolster the world's top producer of the nut, India.
In the nation of 1.6 million people, the industry employs 250,000 families, according to official figures.
Exports hit a high of 170,000 tonnes in 2011, earning government $100 million (75 million euros).
"Government is working to unblock the situation, but if it continues our traders and their banks will have serious problems," said Djalo.