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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Cashew Infrastructure Development Project: Taking Western Province to another level

Economy The Cashew Infrastructure Development Project: Taking Western Province to another level

The African Development Bank Group and the Government of Zambia, on March 29, 2016 in Harare, signed three loan agreements totalling about US $123 million. The funding is for the Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (US $44.2 million), Skills Development and Entrepreneurship Project – Supporting Women and Youth (US $29 million) and the Lusaka Sanitation Program (US $50 million).
The African Development Bank Group and the Government of Zambia, on March 29, 2016 in Harare, signed three loan agreements totalling about US $123 million. The funding is for the Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (US $44.2 million), Skills Development and Entrepreneurship Project – Supporting Women and Youth (US $29 million) and the Lusaka Sanitation Program (US $50 million).

By Elizabeth Chatuvela

SILUMBA Likulile (not real name) is a fisherman in Mongu but he now has to find an alternative source of income because the fish stocks in the Zambezi River are depleted.

His children go to school and he pays medical bills from money earned from selling fish. With the depleted stock, he catches little or no fish. This has consigned him to poverty as he can no longer provide for his family.

Luckily for him, attention in the district is shifting to growing cashew trees and like many other fishermen, Likulile has a fresh opportunity to earn an income and keep poverty on the fringes.

He and many others are now set to drive the diversification through growing cashew trees, whose product is expected to add to the nation’s exports.

The high value crop with an annual production at about 2.1 million tonnes of raw nuts and an estimated value of between US$1.5 and 2 billion, has been considered a miracle crop for the province because of the sand which favours it.

This is why the Zambian government with support of the Africa Development (AfDB) has pumped in US$55.4 million in the cashew industry as an intervention to fight poverty.

Of the US$55.4 million, US$45,000 is a loan from AfDB while Government pumped in US$ 8.3 and US$2.1 contributed by the beneficiaries.

The move by Government to boost the cashew industry has elated residents and the traditional leadership.

The residents say the project promises a bright future for the province which has repeatedly been at the bottom of the poverty pyramid.

The Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP) which will be implemented over a period of five years, will cover Mongu, Limulunga, Sikongo, Senanga, Sioma, Shangombo, Sikongo, Lukulu, Kalabo and Mitete.

The project has under it 60,000 households, of which fifty percent are women headed households. The targeted households are expected to plant 100 trees each, thereby producing a total of six million plants by the end of the project.

Among the benefits expected from the project are the large-scale investors who will process the nuts, outgrower schemes and these are expected to facilitate improved feeder roads, setting up of research facilities, farmer centres, nurseries and clone gardens.

The rehabilitation of existing plantations and establishment of new farms and plantations at individual farm level will equally be supported.

It is also expected that cottage processing plants, collection and sorting sheds, and bulking facilities at community level will be set up.

A resident of Namushakende, Akuzhila Kamba who has been in cashew farming for 15 years said the step taken by Government should be commended as it will help many families fight poverty.

He said the support shown by Government has motivated them to plant more trees.

Another resident, Kombelwa Mubita, who planted her first plant in 2001, said she is excited that the much talked about project has finally kicked off.
“We have heard so much about this project and we are, therefore, delighted that it is finally taking off,’’ she said.

And headman Simwanangule Yembeyembe of Kakulo village said he has 100 plants and plans to expand the plantation to meet the target of the CIDP programme.
It is an opportunity he feels will turn residents into billionaires and he urges all to take it seriously.

The CIDP was launched recently in Mongu district by Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya.

Ms Siliya emphasised during the launch that there is the need for the local people to take ownership of the project, which will in turn help transform their lives.

Ms Siliya said the CIDP is being implemented on a large scale in order to urgently bring down poverty levels in the province.

Government wants to see that only people who are committed and industrious spearhead the project so that it eventually contributes to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Misappropriation of funds is another concern for Government. Its emphasis is that the funds should go to the intended purpose and the responsibility has been given to the provincial administration and district commissioners to ensure the project is on schedule.

The AfDB is confident that Western Province can be transformed into a flourishing corridor if the funds are correctly applied.

Resident representative Damoni Kitabire says his bank’s analysis shows that the investment is worthy it, with economic returns expected at 25 percent.

With his project in place, there is nothing to prevent farmers from expanding production and processing of the nuts into a world class product.

The bank is a resolute advocate of Zambia’s diversification programme and it looks forward to the commissioning of the first shipment of cashew nut exports.

Provincial Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu has pledged to take ownership of the project and work round the clock to ensure that the funds are used for the intended purposes.

Farmers need to rise to the occasion because the market for the product is available.

The chain store, Shoprite, is ready to buy all cashew products for its stores.

The BRE has commended government for implementing the project aimed at uplifting the lives of the people in the area and it will give out land for the cultivation of cashew to those who need it.

The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple.

It can grow as high as 14 m but the dwarf cashew, growing up to 6 metres, has proved more profitable, with early maturity and higher yields.

The cashew seed, often simply called cashew, is widely consumed. It is eaten on its own, used in recipes, or processed into cashew cheese or cashew butter. The cashew apple is a light reddish to yellow fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liquor.


    • A long story that has no information. People of Mongu have been growing cashew nuts for decades. So what value is the USD 54.5 million going to add to cashew production. What are the innovative things that the money will add to way that cashew farmers have been doing things. Which components of cashew production is that money going to fund. How exactly will cashew farmers benefit from this funding. If this article answered those questions it would have made more sense. Otherwise in its current form the article sounds like propaganda. It provides no useful information.

    • Zambians likes this stupidity of “not real name”.
      You spoil even good reports on Barotseland.
      Nostradamus is my baptism name, so many people know me in Luapula province by that name.

    • This is a fake story. The AfDB money ($45,000 really?) will never materialise if GRZ does not put in the counterpart funds. So the first question to Dollar Syria is if this money, $8.3m, is in the 2017 Budget? Maybe 2018 or 2019 Budget? Secondly where are my poor relatives going to find $2.1m to contribute as beneficiaries? Is Lungu maybe going to channel this through the Litunga? Or these PF maggots will go from village to village extracting this money from the nameless fishermen who cannot send their children to school? There’s no need kululuweza over ill-conceived political scams. People of Barotseland should just know that they are on their own under PF.

  1. as long as its the government doing this in a parastatal manner, it will not work. there was a company called zambia cashew company that grew more then 21000 plants but due to the approach, its no more in fact its as if this is a complete new project when infact not.

  2. Why is fish depleted in Zambia while in countries like Australia, government wants to clear its rivers of fish? Last year people in Luapula had vowed not to vote for PF because its stringent fish controls and this even supported by a certain opposition party so who can we blame for our predicament?

    • Rest assured that Bembas are ruthless overfishing in Barotseland while govt is preserving the fish stocks of Luapula. That’s why there’s no more fish from Mongu.

  3. The problem is simply bad leadership. Zambia is rich in natural resources but retarded leadership has hindered or prevented realizing the nation’s full potential. Zambia could easily be Africa’s main food supplier and minting billions in forex.

  4. The cocoa industry is worth more than $100 billion a year. Ivory Coast grows half the world’s cocoa. Yet cocoa farming families in Ivory Coast mostly live without sanitation, electricity or fundamental amenities. Hope we can learn lessons from Ghana, Ivory Coast and other countries on how to link farmers to markets.

    • The only lesion to learn from the countries you mention is that what commodity producers earn is peanuts, yes peanuts! The value of the cocoa industry derives from the European chocolate makers (mainly Swiss Nestle and Belgians) and not African cocoa producers. It is the same story about coffee. Starbucks makes more profits out of coffee than the coffee producing countries put together. As long as we have PF00Ls running govt, cachew nut growers will be slaves for the final marketers of cashew products.

  5. Dont put words in other people mouth , why not interview realpeople in western province to here their views not pseudo names?

    • Kaunda set up a parastatal like he always did. This project seems to target individual farmers in the same way Cocoa and cashew nuts are grown by ordinary farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

  6. This should not be touted as significant as to the people of Western Province it is not a new development as @ peter njobvu and other forward looking commentaries suggest. It is systemic bad leadership in short term through liquid policies which akin to our constitution which seem respond only to political expediency and not stand the test of time! Development in Zambia is looked at as if there is no tomorrow generations.

  7. I have been saying this for years that Cashew Nuts is the way forward; a small 100gram packet of salted nuts costs about £2.99 in Supermarkets. What annoys me is why we have to go to AfDB for a loan for this when this govt is wasting resources elsewhere ie $200m on Solar Hammers and $1 million per kilometer on roads yet you are unable to so $55million.
    Who is Elizabeth Chatuvela? I have searched online nothing coming up; only articles in Zambia Daily Mail..she is probably a Mongu based govt reporter no wonder she is seems to be commending the govt.
    Do we have a market for this Cashew Nuts? India, Ivory Coast and Ghana have prospered in this sector because of the international markets not local…India has gone further to even packaging for the Hypermarkets and Supermarkets Chains in…

    • Bros!! Don’t u know dat Zambia itself is a Supermarkt for these Parganz. l understand wat u a trying to tell the Nation but not this current Stupid Government….. Anyway ka tusole fitupuse!!!

    • @Polokwane – What I am stating is that you can get 10 times the amount from selling abroad than to a local supermarket like the SA owned Shoprite which will arm twist you and pay the lowest fee possible.

    • @Jay Jay: while I agree with you mostly, the real value in commodities is to finalise the product. Don’t sell raw cashew but roast, package and brand it for final consumption. Raw cashew nuts do not cost that much in Mongu-Mabumbu-Limulunga area as they are almost inedible. It is the same story about copper. The finished product is so expensive. Value addition is the key for Zambia (OK, not necessarily in everything). This is the lesson that Botswana learnt a long time ago about diamonds. The Batswana are now involved in marketing of their own diamonds plus they got jewellery makers to also set shop in Gabs so that most of the value chain is completed at home.

    • This is not a project. It is just propaganda, just like King Lewanika University or Mongu Stadium. PF is all talk and no substance. They believe that people eat lies.

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