Cashew nut tree was declared by the government as one of the national cash and NAADS will start giving out seedlings to promote its growth.
It’s a perennial cash crop that is generational fruit that will feed the one throughout their lifetime since it has a fruiting lifespan of 100 years.
“This crop is not only for the old or those planning for retirement, but also the youth looking for a profitable venture into which they can invest their money. A tree will produce over 50kg with each going for sh3,000 thus sh150,000 a season before processing. A kilogramme goes for sh35,000 after processing,” explains Patrick Joseph Okilan, an expert with National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and a cashew farmer.
Florence Kata, the director of Prime Agro Ltd says the main aim is to introduce cashew nut trees as a perennial cash crop in Luweero and the central region by encouraging smallholder cashew nut production and productivity as an additional source of income for the livelihood of farmers.
“With the available evidence about the benefits of cashew nuts, we want to encourage Ugandans to take up the crop farming with a bigger dream of making this place a one-stop centre for cashew nuts where farmers can learn, acquire quality planting seedlings, the market for the harvest and establish a processing plant such that we handle the whole value chain”, she explains.
How to grow cashew nut trees
Managing nursery bed
Okilan explains that when planting the cashew tree, the nursery is the beginning and the success of the farm.
If the seedling gets any defaults from the nursery, it will affect the trees in the main garden, and so will be on the harvest.
“In the area where you are going to set your nursery bed, ensure that it is slanted, such that there is no water logging. Because they are very delicate, keep off all the animals and possible destructive animals like goats, stray dogs and chicks from your nursery bed,” he says.
Potting or directly in the soils?
He says that cashew seeds can be planted directly in the garden, but pre-germinating then is the best as you will have a 90% assurance of the viability of the seeds. Also, a nursery bed helps to avoid the pests like lizards that eat the buds.
Here, first, soak it in water for three days with each soaking session lasting three hours, but changing the water every day.
The shades should be very temporary because when the seeds germinate, they should be kept for only two weeks. After all, if they overstay you will be inviting fungal diseases. Also, there should be no trees around to bring shades.
You need to have a source of water nearby preferably an open-source, but if you are to use tap water, keep it in drums for 24 hours before use to reduce the effect of the chemicals used to treat the water. Overall, it needs less water compared to, for example, matooke or coffee.
Seedlings must be transplanted within three months because if they overstay, they will coil and when you take them to the garden, they will survive, but when they become big and heavy, they will break off.
Also, when the taproot grows into the ground, it will force the coiled area to straighten and eventually breaks and the tree will dry out.
Alternatively, when the taproot grows down in the bed, cut it to never develop again. Cashew has a poor rooting system with lateral roots that don’t go deep. Since you already cut the taproot, it will develop secondary roots which are also lateral.
At the time of transportation to the garden, make sure there is enough moisture in the nurse three days to the date of transplanting. Ensure the seedling remains with the seed.