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Revived cashew trees reviving Anna's income

03 July 2019

Revived cashew trees reviving Anna's income

After years in cashew farming, Anna Jeremiah Nduku realised that the production of her trees was in decline. As her and her family were entirely reliant on the income, Anna became worried about the potential impact on her family.

“I needed money to cater for the education of my grandkids and fund the construction of an ongoing building as proceeds from maize, cassava and coconuts were barely enough,” says Anna.

When Farm Africa’s cashew and sesame value chain project started in Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu counties, it helped to support Anna and other Kenyan farmers needing to rejuvenate their ageing cashew trees.

The European Union funded programme has equipped young people with skills in pruning and top-working, controlling biological pests and diseases and managing tree nurseries. After training and realising that pruning could help increase her production, Anna was happy to try out having a few of her trees pruned by young people trained by the project in the Kwale County.

The project increases prosperity for younger people involved (who are often held back by a lack of farming assets) in pruning, as well as helping generating higher profits for cashew farmers like Anna.

“I have noted a considerable increase in production from my pruned trees. So far, I have harvested 400 kg of cashews, which I sold to Ten Senses Africa at 75 Kenyan Shillings (Kshs) (about UK £0.58) per kg.

"In 2017, I harvested 1200 kg, which sold at Kshs. 55 per kg. I’m hoping to cash in more profits since the market price is better this year. I hope to continually increase my production moving forward.”

Anna paid Kshs. 10,500 for slashing and ploughing five acres of land and has so far paid Kshs. 2200 for harvesting. During the peak season, she hires up to five labourers to help with the cashew collection. Pruning is charged at Kshs. 60 per tree.

The project is encouraging farmers to graft their existing trees with high yielding varieties to boost their production. Young people are trained to do this. Establishing three cashew nurseries will ensure the availability of high quality drought-resistant cashew seedlings to farmers.

The national government has been very supportive of the cashew and sesame project. Recently, the national government distributed 280,000 cashew seedlings of improved varieties to farmers in Kilifi, Kwale, Kilifi and Tana River counties. This will see at least 45% of the farmers recruited under the project benefitting from the cashew seedlings distribution.

Anna says that attacks by pests and diseases during the flowering stage are one of the challenges she faces. This will be addressed by using chemicals.  

This project is funded by the European Union’s Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. The Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation (SlovakAID) is managing the project’s funds on behalf of the European Union.