RECOVERY PHASE

Lamu struggles to revive cashew nut farming despite ban

The move stopped farmers from exporting the nuts to revive local industries

In Summary

•The ban is still active, meaning only the National Cereals and Produce Board of Kenya has the authority to purchase raw nuts from the farmers.

•Lamu is renowned for its high-quality cashews, which are farmed using organic and fair-trade methods.

Cashewnut and coconut trees in Lamu island.
Cashewnut and coconut trees in Lamu island.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

@ppcheti

The Lamu county government has collaborated with World Bank funded Kenya Climate-Smart Agriculture Project to start fresh campaigns on promoting cashew nut farming.

The county government seeks to boost production and explore trade and investment opportunities for cashew nut farmers.

In 2009, the sector was banned from exporting the nuts to revive local industries.

The ban is still active, meaning only the National Cereals and Produce Board of Kenya has the authority to purchase raw nuts from the farmers.

On Wednesday, four common interest groups in Faza Island received equipment for personal protection when handling pesticides.

The items were motorized spray pumps, knapsack pumps, pruning saws, fungicides, insecticides, PPEs. 

The beneficiary common interest groups in the cashew value chain include Mbwajumwali Youth Group, Wanati wa Tchundwa S.H Group, Tchundwa Focal Area Development Committee and Siyu's Tawfiq Development Women Group.

Lamu is renowned for its high-quality cashews, which are farmed using organic and fair-trade methods.

Mpeketoni, Witu and Faza are the region’s three major cashew nut growing areas.

Lamu deputy governor Abdulhakim Aboud said together with the KCSAP they were looking into cashew nut processing as the next phase in its recovery.

Aboud said, as a result, the cashew nut farmer population in Lamu has reduced from 10,000 back then to 3,000.

“Lamu will benefit from this endeavour by reviving one of its most important cash crops,” Aboud said.

“The cashew sector in Lamu employs a lot of people both directly and indirectly. We cannot ignore the damage that the embargo did.”

Lamu Trade and industrialisation executive Josephat Musembi said cashew is the perfect crop for investment and development support despite socioeconomic challenges ranging from biophysical to technical directly or indirectly tied to production.

He said the county was working on a robust trade and investment policy to attract local agro-processing companies to make use of Lamu’s Port potential and the presence of an Export Processing Zone.

“These firms will purchase the nuts directly from our farmers, eliminating the need for middlemen who have exploited farmers in the past. We are targeting Simsim and coconut,” Musembi said.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris

Lamu cashewnut farmers receiving incentives fom the county government under the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project.
Lamu cashewnut farmers receiving incentives fom the county government under the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES
Cashew nut trees in Lamu island.
Cashew nut trees in Lamu island.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES