Lamu county government to revive cashew and coconut farming

Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha at his Mokowe office.PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu,KENYA:The county government of Lamu has announced plans to revive cashew nut and coconut farming that have dwindled for over a decade now.

Lamu governor Fahim Twaha said the county government would set aside a reasonable chunk of money in the forthcoming financial year that will go into reviving the two ventures.

Adressing members of the public at the Mkunguni square on Friday,Twaha however blamed the long term drought spells experienced in the region for being responsible for the death of many cashew and coconut trees in the region.

“I know of the times when Lamu did so well in producing cashewnuts and coconuts.But that has changed due to among other things,constant drought spells.As a result,the farming of the two nuts has been lying low for almost a decade now.We however plan to revive all this and where we go a county,”said Twaha.

The governor also revealed that the county was in the process of setting up a fruit processing factory in the region to help farmers have an easy and reliable market for their produce.

Lamu is especially good at producing mangoes, bananas,avocados and water melons.

“Farmers will be able to sell their fruits right away to the processing company,”said Twaha.

Farmers in the county have numerously appealed to the national government to lift a nine year old cashew nut export ban imposed of farmers in the county.

The ban which was imposed way back in 2009 by the then Agriculture Minister William Ruto has led to the collapse of cashew nut farming in Lamu.

The ban forbids cashew nut farmers from exporting and selling the crop to outside markets in what had been considered as a move to revive local industries.

Only the National Cereals and Produce Board of Kenya-NCPB has the authority as it is,to purchase raw nuts from the farmers.

Farmers in the major cashew nut growing areas in Lamu that are Mpeketoni,Witu and Faza having incurred huge losses have so far quit and embarked on other ventures since they no longer have a ready market locally for their produce.

Farmers feel the ban had damaged the cashew nut industry and prompted many to drop it and focus on other farming ventures.