Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) has established a Cashew Matching Grant Fund Facility worth US$2million United States dollars.
CEEC Director General Likando Mukumbuta says the fund has been sourced from African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of the US$55.4 million cashew project Government is implementing in Western Province.
Speaking during a sensitization meeting held at Kalabo Secondary School, Mr. Mukumbuta said the fund is meant to boost enterprises of cashew value chain products under the Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP).
Mr Mukumbuta said the matching grants being floated are meant to finance entrepreneurs venturing into nurseries, plantations, storage, processing and marketing of cashew products.
He stated that funds will be disbursed to targeted citizens as well as Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in order to cushion their financial requirements during the various stages of cashew value chain production.
Mr. Mukumbuta added that CEEC has partnered with CIDP to also make funds available to finance feasibility studies into the various fields of cashew nuts.
He said the grant will be awarded through an open selection procedure based on either concept notes or business plans.
Mr. Mukumbuta said successful applicants would receive funds amounting to K70, 000 adding that those seeking for funds above that threshold are required to submit a full business plan.
He however noted that the funds would not cater for everyone hence the need for entrepreneurs to align themselves to lending institutions for additional or alternative funds.
Speaking at the same function, Kalabo District Commissioner, Fridah Luhila said cashew yields have improved this year following spraying of chemicals and pruning exercise which boosted production levels of already existing trees.
Mrs. Luhila has since urged cashew farmers to apply for the grant in order to engage in cashew value chain products and in turn generate more income.
Meanwhile, Acting District Marketing Development Officer, Munchini Ushiti has advised applicants to be realistic in their project proposals.
And cashew farmers in Kalabo district have thanked Government for establishing the Cashew Matching Grant Fund Facility saying the initiative has potential to reduce household poverty across the province.
The smallholder farmers however appealed to government to reduce the applicants’ prerequisite contribution towards the cashew value chain projects from 70 percent to about 30 percent in order for them to benefit from the matching grant facility.
Government through Ministry of Agriculture is implementing the five-year cashew project in selected 10 districts of Western Province at a cost of US$55.4 million dollars.