Western Province Minister Richard Kapita has urged the Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP) team to expedite the implementation of project activities in the remaining two years.
Officially opening a cashew stakeholders’ conference at Mongu trades training institute, Mr Kapita said concerted effort will exculpate the success of the project objective in reducing poverty and improving household income.
And Mr Kapita in a speech read for him by Deputy Permanent Secretary Daniel Bukali commended the Cashew Growers Association of Zambia and cooperatives for considering the need to establish the cashew business cooperative movement which he noted would become an effective vehicle to actualize business development .
The Minister urged stakeholders to conceptualize a cashew regulatory body during the deliberations of the conference.
He said the legal and regulatory framework will enhance orderliness in the operation of cashew business as it will enforce compliance to quality and safety standard.
“ Efforts in the project could be yield less if there are no clear guidelines and regulations to be observed strictly by all value chain actors, “ he said.
He also advised farmers to ensure that production and supply of seedlings is controlled to avoid misunderstandings and contamination of the cashew industry with unwanted trees.
Mr Kapita called to action the Local Council and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to develop and enforce By-laws to regulate the industry.
And speaking at the same event , Cashew Growers Association of Zambia Coordinator Allan Ching’ambu urged farmers to change the status quo of western province by developing mechanism which can uphold good quality cashew nuts to bring the desired development in the region.
Mr Ching’ambu disclosed that the local market size is estimated at 17 tons of cases kernels per annum with a market value of 2 million kwacha while the export demand for kernels from Zambia is approximated at 3.175 Ton per annum with the market value of 222 million kwacha.
Raw cashew has a market value of 210 million kwacha and the current demand is 30.000 tons thus urging farmers to capitalize on cashew, he said
And CIDP Project Coordinator Charles Kapekele Chileya announced that the project has contracted Export Trading Group to ensure that the cashew is bought from the local farmers in all districts hence advising farmers to work together in cooperatives to increase productivity.
Meanwhile, a farmer from Sikongo district, Noanga Kabeto called for intensive sensitization and education on the value of cashew nut in the province stating that most farmers express ignorance.
Government Partnered with the African Development Bank (ADB) in the five year USD 55.42 million project which is coming to a close next year is being executed in 10 districts of the province.