IDC commits to improving cashew nuts production
By Staff Reporter
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) says it is committed to developing Zambia into a Cashew hub in Southern Africa.
Speaking yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on Western Province Permanent Secretary Sibanze Simuchoba in Mongu, IDC Group Chief Executive Officer, Mateyo Kaluba said that the Corporation had focused on increasing the production capacity of good quality cashew nuts in the province.
“The Corporation had engaged ZAFFICO to assist in raising the much-needed production capacity for the industry to thrive in Zambia,” he said.
Kaluba added that Zambezi Cashew Limited is another company which had come -up to provide value addition and job creation through the setting up of a cashew processing plant in the region once the production scale improved.
And Simuchoba said his office had taken a bold step to do away with poor quality seedlings provided by some local seed developers.
Meanwhile, ZAFFICO Managing Director Titus Sichone said his firm had so far planted 103 hectares of good quality cashew seedlings in Ndondo area along the Mongu/Lusaka road.
Sichone said the firm intends to clear an additional 300 hectares for the cashew plantation this year.
And the US$2million Cashew Matching Grant Fund Facility has received overwhelming response in Kalabo district with hundreds of applicants submitting their project proposals for financing.
Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) Business Development Manager Muma Munansangu has disclosed that a total of 297 project proposals had been submitted in Kalabo.
“The applicants have proposed to venture into cashew production, processing, marketing as well as storage and handling,” she said.
She said an evaluation committee would soon be set up at provincial level in order to scrutinize the project proposals and make recommendations for determination at national level.
“The whole process is expected to be complete within two months and that successful applicants would be awarded through an open selection procedure based on their concept notes or business plans,” she said
Munansangu stated that cashew projects which require funding amounting to K70, 000 would be financed based on concept notes while those above that threshold would be required to submit a full business plan.
Meanwhile, applicants in Kalabo district appealed to CEEC to award the cashew matching grants to locals.
Mutafela Mutola said the purpose of reducing household poverty across Western Province through cashew value chain production would be meaningless if locals were not prioritized for funding.
CEEC has established the Cashew Matching Grant Fund Facility in a bid to boost enterprises of cashew value chain products under the Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP).