Kenya: Cashew nut farming collapse looms over 2009 export ban
MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2017 19:55
Cashew nut farming in Mpeketoni, Witu and Faza in Lamu County faces total collapse following ban on exports in 2009.
Majority of disillusioned farmers have left the venture following huge losses.
Speaking to the Business Daily in Mpeketoni on Sunday, Lamu West MP Julius Ndegwa who was a large scale cashew nut farmer and transporter said many famers were demoralised due to lack of market for their produce.
Mr Ndegwa said he was worried that if the ban is not lifted, cashew nut farming will become a thing of the past.
He said farmers had started uprooting the trees.
“The ban has killed the cashew nut industry. We feel it has been in place for too long. I call on the government to lift the ban on exportation of cashew nut. It has really affected us.
In Mpeketoni for example, our farmers have begun uprooting the cashew trees while others have ceased to plant more. We no longer see the benefit of the plant,” said Mr Ndegwa.
There are more than 10,000 cashew nut farmers in Lamu with the main growing zones being Mpeketoni, Baharini, Kiongwe, Tewa, Hongwe, Uziwa, Telelani and Witu.
In Lamu East, Faza is famously known for cashew nut growing.
Mr Titus Ngugi, a cashew nut farmer, said lack of a ready market had contributed to their cashew nut produce to pile in various stores.
He said he was confident that lifting of the ban would provide markets for their harvests.
Mr Ngugi said they had no problem even if they are exploited through exports, since it was better than the current situation where the produce now literally goes bad in the farms.
He said unscrupulous traders were buying their produce at throw away prices.
“Enough is enough. We have been exploited and it is high time that the government lifts the ban. Some of the cashew nut dealers have gone to an extent of coning us. They take our produce promising to pay us at a later date and by the end of the day, they vanish,” said Mr Ngugi.