NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30 – The government will next week gazette a ban on exportation of raw cashew nuts.
Agriculture Minister William Ruto who received a report of the Cashew Nut revival Task Force on Thursday, said he will instruct the National Cereals and Produce Board to start buying cashew nuts from farmers to stop exportation of raw nuts.
“Sale of raw cashew nuts is not only depriving this country of job opportunities, it is depriving farmers of better returns and depriving the country of good foreign exchange earnings,” he said.
Control of cashew nut prices is also another measure that the Minister pointed out as an important consideration to regulate sale of the nuts.
Other interventions such as working on a policy to regulate production, sale and entire management of cashew nuts in the country is also among other recommendations brought forward by the task force.
Mr Ruto also promised to instruct the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute to examine diseases that affect cashew nuts to help identify pesticides and other treatments to boost production of healthy nuts.
The Minister said he will ensure recommendations made by the task force are implemented to boost returns from sale of cashew nuts from the current Sh264.9 million to over Sh1 billion per year.
In search of a bigger market, the Minister said he will next week meet with an American delegation that is coming for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum to push for Kenya’s cashew nuts to be included in the list of products that will benefit from the AGOA Treaty.
“I will be meeting the Secretary responsible for Agriculture on August 5 and I will be discussing among other things the inclusiuon of cashew nuts in the schedule of products that will benefit,” he said.
Former Managing Director of Kilifi Cashew Nut Factory John Safari Mumba chaired the four-member task force set up three months ago to look into issues affecting cashew nut production in the country.
Kenya has about two million cashew nut trees and the country produces about 10,000 Metric tons per year.
Mr Ruto said once the recommendations of the report are implemented the production will increase to over 63,000 Metric Tones per year.