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Cashew revival is key to survival

Matana is one of the first farmers to take part in Farm Africa's cashew project Matana is one of the first farmers to take part in Farm Africa's cashew project

Matana lives on the Kenyan coast where there is a higher concentration of cashew nut trees than anywhere else in the country. But the last generation of these trees are dying, and with them, the chance for farmers to support their families. That's why Farm Africa's cashew project is working with coastal communities to revive the cashew industry. 

"I have lived here all my life. I have 15 cashew trees. My parents grew them. In this area everyone grew cashew trees. They did it for the future generations to benefit from. Ten years ago my trees were producing very nicely.

However today the produce from these cashews is so little. It’s not enough for selling. The trees do not produce enough – they are too old. I was even planning on cutting down my old trees because they’re not producing.

My income is very low - sometimes we borrow money from friends to survive. Sometimes we go without and sometimes my children are sent back home from school because we can’t pay the fees.

I feel really bad about it when my kids are sent home from school. Sometimes I cannot concentrate on my own work, because I cannot provide for their breakfast or lunch, I really feel bad about it – that they’re at home...I really want to give my children a quality education. 

I joined the Farm Africa project recently. Farm Africa explained their ideas and I wanted to get involved.

I will get training in finance and technical training in cashew nut farming. I will have access to new seedlings which are drought resistant - here when you expect rain, that’s when it doesn't come! 

With high-quality seedlings, it will be easy to grow enough produce. And I will know how to sell the produce and earn an income. 

I have encouraged the community to join the project as well because there is a need for collective development. I wanted us to develop as a whole village. 

By being involved in the project, we will produce many cashews and sell them, and we will be able to take care of school fees, and have a good diet. Now my family always just eats cornmeal and locally found greens. With more money we would eat rice, chicken and beef. We’d have more variety! 

There is light at the end of the tunnel with the project. Without the project there would be no light, and my life would be much worse. At the moment, we're living from hand to mouth. With the project, I can have some savings."

Your support could help save a generation of cashew trees and grow a new one – giving hope to farmers like Matana today and long into the future. Donate here.