The European Union has launched a project to grow five million cashew nut seedlings in Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu counties.
EU Ambassador Stefano Dejak yesterday said the move aims to revive the industry that collapsed nearly three decades ago. He spoke in Kilifi after commissioning the €2 million EU(Sh236 million) project.
Dejak said the projects will revamp cashew farming by establishing cashew tree nurseries, establishing a processing plant and looking for markets.
“We want to empower the community and we have identified a private partner to set up a processing plant here. Organic cashew nuts will have a direct market to Europe. This crop used to do very well before the collapse of the industry in the 1990s,” he said
Ten Senses has been appointed as the private partner in the project. Ten Senses MD Frank Omondi said they will work with 1,500 farmers in the project.
“The project targets 15,000 farmers in Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale. We believe this will go a long way in empowering farmers in the three counties,” he said. The cashew seedlings being produced by Ten Senses will be sold to farmers at a subsidised price of Sh50.
They are grafted seedlings that mature after three years. The plan is to establish the processing plant by 2019, Omondi said. The plant will have a capacity to process 400 tonnes of cashew nuts per month.
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said cashews had boosted the economy in the 1990s.Road to connect Kwale to Kilifi to start soon, says Obure