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Plea to lift cashew ban in KenyaThe national government in Kenya should lift a nine-year cashew nut export ban imposed on farmers in Lamu county, Women's Rep Shakilla Abdalla has said.
Shakilla said the directive made by the then Agriculture Minister William Ruto in 2009 has led to the collapse of cashew nut farming in Lamu.
Farmers are forbidden from exporting and selling the crop to outside markets so as to revive local industries.
Previously, only the National Cereals and Produce Board of Kenya had the authority to buy raw nuts from farmers.
There are over 10,000 farmers in Lamu county in the major cashew nut growing areas in Mpeketoni, Witu and Faza. They incurred heavy losses when the ban was enforced since they lack market for their produce.
Shakilla said a majority of them have stopped planting the crop.
"Many farmers have uprooted cashew nut trees since they see no hope. For as long as the ban remains in force, they cannot benefit from the crop," she said.
The Woman's Rep said farmers are demoralised and the ban should be lifted in order to revive cashew nut farming, which will change the fortunes of locals.
Shakilla urged the Lamu County Government to set up a cashew nut factory and to help farmers get markets abroad.
She criticised the ban, terming it a failed intervention as it had led to the collapse of the sector and had failed to open up local markets for farmers.
“Middlemen are exploiting farmers who have very limited options. They are selling their produce at very low prices. A kilo of cashew nuts that went for Sh70 has drastically dropped to as low as Sh20 a kilo," said Shakilla.
Publication date: 8/8/2017
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