The Cashew Project in Western Province (CIDP)

March 22, 2021

The Cashew Project in Western Province (CIDP)[1] 

The Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP) has been implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), in Mongu, Limulunga, Senanga, Kalabo, Nalolo, Sikongo, Shangombo, Sioma, Lukulu, and Mitete Districts of the Western Province. The Project’s objective is to contribute to poverty reduction, improved household incomes through improved cashew production and processing in the Western Province and the nation as a whole. It aims to benefit 60,000 smallholder farmers including 30,000 (50%) women and 7,000 youths, each planting 1 ha (100 cashew trees). The Project is expected create about 6,000 full time jobs (3,000 women, and 1,000 youths) along cashew value chain from production, processing to marketing. The USD 55.42 million Government of the Republic of Zambia Project is basically an Infrastructure Project with 3 main components aiming at reviving the cashew subsector. Part of the funding being a loan of USD45.00 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB). This article is aimed at helping followers of the SSFAFRICA blog to understand the Project and to stir up a discussions about the project. The project components are: (1) Support to Cashew Value Chain with 3 sub-components, (i) irrigation infrastructure for cashew nurseries and clone gardens, (ii) cashew plantation rejuvenation and establishment.

Above: Cashew Nurseries producing seedlings for farmers.

(iii) Infrastructure for cashew-processing and marketing. Various infrastructure have been built to support a number of value chain activities for the present and for the future. These are Irrigation infrastructure, Roads, research laboratories, Offices and staff houses etc.

Below: Infrastructure for processing and marketing (Bulking Centre)

  (2) Capacity Building with 3 sub-components, (i) training, (ii) technical support, and (iii) matching fund; (i) Training – A number of trainings have been conducted to build capacity in all areas along the value chain i.e. farmers, agricultural staff, processors, researchers, marketers etc. Cashew curriculum at Diploma and Degree levels have been developed for NRDC and University of Barotseland and enrolment has started. (ii) Technical support – Cashew experts procured by the Project to support various areas requiring specialised fields. (iii) Matching fund – Through the Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Fund, the project has funded a number of entrepreneurs in processors, transporters, large scale plantations etc. to invest in the cashew value chain with a matching grant fund. CEEC approves 61 cashew projects – Zambia Daily Mail ( (3) Project Management with 2 sub-components, (i) project coordination, and (ii) monitoring and evaluation. Gender, social and environmental issues are mainstreamed in all project activities. Socio-economic and Environmental advantages of growing Cashew The project, which is almost at the end of its implementation period, has enabled the planting of over 6 million cashew trees, will contribute to positive effects on the environment. Cashew production promotes green growth as cashew is mostly grown in the upland sandy areas where illegal charcoal production is quite high, it therefore contributes to replanting of trees in these bare sandy areas. In addition cashew production promotes intercropping of cashew with other soil improving high value crops such as groundnuts which improve the soil and also the keeps the soil cover after land is cleared for cashew growing. Intercropping also gives short term returns to farmers, as cashew will only start bringing meaningful returns after 5 years when the tree is big enough to yield a good harvest. Therefore contrary to what a number of people believed that the wealth that comes with cashew is for today, it must be made clear that cashew is a long term investment and people will have to be patient and take good care of their trees as healthy trees will yield good nuts.

Above: Cashew intercropped with groundnuts in Sioma.

Induna Kutoma, a female traditional leader and farmer showing off her 2 year old cashew field on a 3 ha plot. Message to the women – “don’t be left behind, follow me.”

Below: Cashew intercropped with maize

[1] Written by Ngula Ikafa Mubonda, currently the Gender Specialist at the CIDP

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