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BISSAU (Reuters) - Guinea Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz has ordered a halt to cashew sales just a few weeks into the season amid signs the nuts are being smuggled out via neighbouring Senegal.
Cashews make up around 80 percent of all export revenues from the small West African country and secret cross-border sales means the historically unstable country misses out on export taxes.
"I am calling on producers to suspend the sale of cashew nuts until further notice," Vaz said late on Monday.
He said that farmers in Guinea-Bissau were receiving around 500-600 CFA Francs ($1.00) per kilogramme while the nuts were being sold at around 1500 CFA Francs ($2.51) in southern Senegal.
Guinea-Bissau, the world's fifth-largest cashew exporter, reported high exports of around 200,000 tonnes last year. The season runs from April through to September.
Reporting by Alberto Dabo; Writing by Emma Farge; editing by Susan Thomas