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  • Renewed Hope For Cashew Nuts, Coconut Farmers As MPs Consider Bill To Review Sector 10/03/2023

    Oct 3rd, 2023

    The proposed Coconut and Cashew Nut Bill, 2023, sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader of the Majority Party and Kilifi North MP, Owen Baya, seeks to provide regulation for the production, processing, marketing, grading, storage, collection, transportation and warehousing of coconut and cashew nut. The draft legislation, which is undergoing pre-publication scrutiny also seeks to establish the Coconut and Cashew Nut Board of Kenya, to oversee the regulation, production, grading, storage, auctioning, marketing, research, and development of coconut and cashew nuts. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development in their submissions opposed the legislative proposal highlighting that the Agriculture and Food Authority is mandated to oversight and develop the sector adding that the purpose of the proposed Coconut and Cashew Nut Bill, 2023 is adequately addressed by the Crops Act, 2013, AFA Act, 2013 and the Crops (Nuts and Oil Crops) Regulations, 2020. The Kenya Law Reform Commission voiced its support for the draft Bill. Members of the Committee acknowledged that Kenyan coconut farmers grappling with various challenges, including pests and diseases affecting both trees and nuts, suboptimal agricultural practices, and the use of poor-quality planting materials. Lamu County Woman Representative Monica Marubu highlighted the decline of coconut and cashew nut production in the Coast region citing long-maturing coconuts and the lack of incentives for farmers. Marubu decried the state of decline of coconut and cashew nut farming and production in the Coast Region. “We should appreciate these two cash crops. They are on the decline. If we get a body that can focus on the production of coconuts and cashew nuts, we can revive the sector. The Climate in the coastal region is conducive for these crops. I urge my colleagues to give this bill the attention it deserves,” she added. ADVERTISEMENT. SCROLL TO CONTINUE READING. Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi said it is possible to transform the livelihoods of Kenyans in the coastal rural area and move them to a middle-income economic status through the cashew value chain. “The crop is almost dying, and we need this crop. We should be able to revive this industry in the coastal region,” Wanyonyi said. Despite its historical significance, the global coconut industry has experienced a downward trend over the past two decades. A notable factor contributing to this decline is the reduced productivity of aging coconut palms, which can drop to as low as 40% when they reach 60 years of age. Regarding cashew nuts, lawmakers noted that production has been declining since the late 1970s. The Kenya Cashew Nut Factory, a subsidiary of Kenya Cashew Nut Limited (KCL), with the capacity to process 15,000 MT annually, collapsed in 1997 after the mismanagement of its parent company (KCL). In 2009 there was a ban on the export of raw cashews and macadamia nuts. While in June 2022, the Departmental Committee on Agriculture and Livestock considered a public petition on the revival of the Kenya Cashew Nuts Factory. Kenya cashew production has traditionally been one of the main sources of livelihoods at the coast and grown in Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Mombasa and Lamu Counties. The industry employs directly and indirectly employs 4000 and 50,000 people, respectively. ADVERTISEMENT. SCROLL TO CONTINUE READING. Commonly referred to as white gold worldwide, cashew is a globally prized commodity whose nuts are not only expensive but fetches good prices internationally. Africa produces 60 percent of the world’s total raw cashew nuts (RCN) providing a main source for foreign exchange earnings from Agriculture in Tanzania, Mozambique, Ivory Coast, Benin, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria.