Eastern Provincial Agriculture Coordinator (PACO), Alex Chilala says the implementation of the multimillion cashew nut value chain under the World Bank-sponsored landscape project is progressing well.
Mr Chilala said Export Trading Group Farmer Foundation (EFF) engaged to implement the project has already planted a nursery of cashew nut seedlings which should be distributed to 10,000 farmers.
The PACO has since called on senior agriculture staff in the six districts where the project is being implemented to play an active role in ensuring that the cashew development initiative succeeds.
“The project has already made headways and as we speak they have done seedlings that should be given to the famers,” he said.
Mr Chilala was speaking yesterday during a meeting organised to sensitise senior agriculture staff from Mambwe, Lundazi and Chadiza which are among the six districts where the cashew nut project is being implemented.
Mr Chilala noted that the project is important to Eastern Province as it is a cash crop adding that it will help in mitigating damage to the environment.
He has since urged the district agriculture coordinators and their senior officers to ensure that seedlings are quickly distributed to farmers in the month February.
“We are racing against time as we can only do this during this rainy season because if we don’t give these seedlings within the next two-three months, I think we could have lost an opportunity,” he said.
Speaking during the same meeting, EFF Multiple Crop Specialist Arul Murugan, disclosed that a total of 1,035,000 seedlings will be distributed to 10,000 farmers in the six districts of Eastern Province by the second week of February.
Mr Murugan EFF targets to bring 15,000 hectares of land under cashew plantation in Sinda, Nyimba, Petauke, Lundazi, Chadiza and Mambwe districts.
He said the six districts have been identified through a study conducted in March 2020 which established the existence of cashew trees.
And EFF Chief Agronomist, Francis Boma noted that many countries have consider cashew nut as a crop that can help to revive their economies.
“At international market cashew nut fetches 1,500 dollars per metric tonne. Many people in various countries have found that it is a crop that they should use to revamp their economies,” Mr Boma said.