Govt forms task force on cashewnut industry

Thursday April 9 2009

Agriculture minister William Ruto addresses a news conference where he launched a task force for the revival of the cashewnut industry on Thursday. Photo/ PETERSON GITHAIGA

Agriculture minister William Ruto addresses a news conference where he launched a task force for the revival of the cashewnut industry on Thursday. Photo/ PETERSON GITHAIGA 

By DAVE OPIYO

The government has launched a task force aimed at reviving the ailing cashewnut industry.

Agriculture minister William Ruto said the team would be expected to identify mechanisms of improving the production of the crop, its development, marketing and husbandry.

They have also been asked to develop the legal framework for the regulation of the industry and propose developments on the issue of export of raw nut versus local processing.

"They are expected to compile a comprehensive report and submit the same to me in two weeks with effect from next week," said Mr Ruto at a news conference Thursday.

The five man team will consist of Mr John Safari Mumba, a former managing director of the Kilifi Cashewnut Factory, Ms Nancy Kabeyeka Abisai from Shelter Forum and Mr Nasaro Hada.

Others are: Mr Francis Muniu, a researcher with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute in Mtwapa and Ms Margaret Kavenge Masaku of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The cashewnut industry is an important cash crop especially at the Coast province, with a total population of more than two million trees. 

However, this great potential is not being adequately realised due to immense challenges in production, processing and marketing strategies.

Production of the crop has recently been on the decline from 14,000 metric tonnes three years ago to 10,000 metric tonnes last year.