The sale of cashew nuts, Guinea Bissau's key export product, could be a failure this year, the president of the West African country's Exporters and Importers Association, Mamadou Iero Embalo, has warned.
"If the political and administrative conditions are not reviewed, the 2014 season will be catastrophic," he said during an interview with Xinhua on Thursday.
According to Guinea Bissau's Ministry of Trade, in 2013, more than 130,000 tons of cashew nuts were exported and 60,000 tons left the country by land along the border with neighbouring Senegal.
"To avert the possibility of smuggling of cashew nuts through terrestrial means, it is necessary to suspend the tax of 50 Francs for each kilogram of cashew nuts that is exported," Embalo said.
An evaluation mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that visited the country last week also called for the suspension of the tax, he said.
In 2013, the tax brought the Guinea Bissau government a total of 6 billion CFA Francs (12.5 million U.S. dollars), up from the 5 billion CFA Francs in 2012.
"The tax which was instituted to stimulate industrialization and promotion of local products, is a serious threat to the national economy," Embalo warned.
He also urged the government not to fix the buying price of cashew nuts from the producers, arguing that this was "incompatible with the rules of international markets."
Commercialization of cashew nuts in Guinea Bissau begins in March until July each year.