The Export Trading Group – ETG, one of Africa’s largest Agro conglomerates with operations in over 40 countries has disclosed that its actively engaged in the Zambian Cashew-nuts development project and will work to deliver high quality and export grade nuts in Zambia.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Zambian Business Times – ZBT, ETG programs manager Nyambe Luhila stated that Government and ETG under the umbrella of the Cashew Infrastructure Development Project [CIDP] signed a contract valued at about US$11 million which focuses on the Cashew rejuvenation and re-establishment.
“This is a contract under CIDP and is valued at about US$11 million, but this contract sum is just specific to ETG, there are other components that make up the entire project. The contract is specifically cashew promotion, but because Cashew takes time for you to start harvesting, the project is also encouraging farmers to intercrop”, he said.
Furthermore, he added that EGT is working closely with local communities in the selected areas to train them on how to best take care of the old cashew trees and also how to care of nurseries of cashew plants. The main thrust of this is to promote local knowledge transfer and consumption, to insure that the cashew nuts produced in Zambia are able to compete on the international markets.
“We are training Communities on how to manage old trees, we also train the community members on how to plant and manage cashew nurseries. The end result for all this is that we are going to have good quality nuts for processing locally, whether in western province or within the country, and consumption is going to be both local as well as for the export market”, he said.
However, he stressed that for cashew nuts produced in Zambia to have a credible chance of competing favorably with other countries, the nuts must be big enough and the project is focused on looking at varieties which can give good quality nuts which can compete at international markets as well.
There are currently 16 districts in Western province but the cashew nut training and rejuvenation program is in this first phase being done in 10 districts. The CIDP is a US$55million Government of Zambia project with funding obtained from the African Development Bank – AfDB.
The project aims to cover 60,000 outgrower farmers who are each expected to plant a minimum of 1 hectare (about 100 trees) and boost their annual revenues by an estimate US$430 (about K7,740). With intercropping and expanded hectarage, this project will provide an initial economic base and ready market for produce cashew-nuts produced.