NEWLY-formed cashew Processors and Exporters Association of Zambia chairperson, Wamundila Mwendabai , says there is need to establish a sustainable and viable cashew value chain that will provide a route out of poverty for majority of smallholder farmers.
Outlining the association’s development initiative that will run from 2015 to 2025, Mr Mwendabai said the members are targeting annual exports of 4,400 metric tonnes and 20,000 metric tonnes of cashew kernels and raw cashew nuts respectively.
“At this level of business, the association will increase its market share from 0.002 percentage point to 1.21 percent of the cashew global market. We also want to increase turnover from K578, 107 [US$ 71,108] to K300 million [US$ 37 million] and create 18,000 employment opportunities with 3,000 being factory employees, 5,000 self-employed smallholder farmers and 10,000 farm employees,” he said.
He said the present cashew hub has potential to produce about 130,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts per annum with a turnover of K772.3 million (US$ 95 million).
“This represents four per cent of the global cashew production. With this potential, the cashew value chain has potential to create 30,000 jobs and support over 100,000 smallholder farmers,” Mr Mwendabai said.
He commended the Ministries of Agriculture and Livestock, and Finance and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission for their positive and strategic responses to revamp the cashew industry.
“We appeal to the relevant authorities to expeditiously disburse resources [funds, expertise, inputs, among other resources] to the cashew industry to enable various actors proceed to real action of maximising benefits by exploiting the potential of the cashew value chain to contribute to employment creation and eradication of poverty and hunger in the province,” Mr Mwendabai said.