How To Start Cashew Farming In Zimbabwe

Cashew farming business is a silent money- spinner, you may never know until you engage in it or be closer to a dealer. Zimbabwe as nation is seriously milking money out from cashew
exportation.

There’s more money in processing or roasting cashew than selling them raw, the ratio is 1:10.
The main reason for this post is to show you a step by step guide on how to succeed in cashew farming business in Zimbabwe. The business is not a quick rich kind of business it takes 3 years to make a hit but worth the wait. It involves a lot of capital both in planting and harvesting.

Here Is How To Start Cashew Farming Business

LAND PREPARATION:

Acquire a land, We would not advice leasing because it is a long-term investment. So buy the land in the village, secure it by getting the necessary papers. The best soil to use is sandy soil with laterite. Clear grasses and cut down shrubs and trees. Use machines to plough and levelled the land. Mix the sand with animals dung if the nutrient is low but you have to test the soil first to know its nutrient level.

Cashew farming can be done both in wet and dry tropics.

PLANTING:

Planting cashew from seed is as stressful as that of coffee and oil palm. To learn oil palm farming click her. That is why it is advisable you buy already sprouted seedlings from an
established nursery with good species. Or propagated plants the seedlings take 3 years to produce while the direct ones (seed planting) takes 5 years to produce.

Also as in orange farming were the seeds that are planted directly have less taste and less
fruit than the parent plant; so also is cashew plants that are raised directly from seeds of a
particular cashew tree. For commercial purposes go for the grafted ones.

If you want to plant by yourself, use containers or plant directly into a prepared bed. Insert 2-3 seeds into a hole of 2-3 cm depth.

Irrigate the nursery every day after 4-7 days the seeds will sprout. Like in coffee farming use fresh seed. The viability last from the first day to 4 months after which reduction sets in. Dry the seeds under the sun for 3 days. Then soak them in water overnight before planting them the next day.

The general spacing is 7m x 9m, however you can still use these planting distances;

8m x 5m will give you 100 seedlings on a hectare

7.5 x 7.5 will give 175 per hectare

8m x 8m will give you 156 per hectare

At an early stage before the cashew tree grows and cover the farm you can inter-crop with cassava, plantain, pineapple etc.

FERTILIZATION:

In cashew farming apply nitrogen, phosphorus and zinc fertilizers. Cashew crops need nutrients at every point in their development to grow faster and to produce good fruits. During growing stage give them fertilizer also during fruiting and flowering. Apply farmyard manure 15kg once in a year to a mature cashew tree.

IRRIGATION IN CASHEW FARMING:

Irrigate your cashew farm during dry season or when draught sets in during wet season. To produce more fruits water them adequately and regularly. Don’t bother to water the plants during raining season but irrigate them once in a week or twice during dry season. In cashew farming 25C-30 temperature is ideal for optimum growth. 6 hours of direct sunlight is needed every day. If you make the mistake of growing them under shade they will not fruit.

PRUNING/MULCHING IN CASHEW FARMING:

Cashew plants are pruned the same way like hibiscus plant, cut off entangled branches, remove overcrowded area so as to give room to clean straight branches. If you want to learn hibiscus farming , check my site you would find. it Use compost manure in mulching the entire farm to reduce weeds growth and to conserve moisture.

PEST/DISEASES:

Some of the pests in cashew farming are; root and stem borer, tea mosquito, leaf miner etc.
Diseases; twig and fora shoot die back, root rot etc. Use pesticides and insecticides, plant resistant varieties.

WHY YOU SHOULD START CASHEW FARMING

Cashew farming is a long time earning investment which can last more than 50 years.
Cashew nut is the best product gotten from cashew farming,. However you can process the apple into fruit juice for more money.

The nuts are in high demands and the price keeps doubling every passing year thereby making it extremely profitable.

The price of cashew nuts is most times determined in dollars because majority of the people who deal on it are exporters.
Cashew season is 3-4 months; you can imagine having to harvest this long,The business is full of different streams of income.

HARVESTING/DRYING OF CASHEW NUTS:

The ripe fruit starts dropping from late January. Before the trees starts dropping their fruits make sure you clear around the trees. Remove the grasses and other weeds around the tree to allow for effective picking of the raw cashew nuts. When the fruit falls; it therefore means they are matured. Pick the nuts within 2 to 3 days of falling to avoid quality reduction.

Use sharp knife to detach the apple from the nut ineffective detaching of the nuts would affect the quality. Dry them on a clean surface and keep turning them frequently to ensure uniform drying. Don’t dry them indoors because they would be a delay in drying which can lead to decay. Do not also dry them on a metallic surface because of rust. When the nuts are well dried they would produce rattling sound when turned. The drying may take few days such as 2-3 but always carry them inside during dusk to avoid moisture entering the nut.

HOW TO STORE CASHEW NUTS

Store them in jute bags and not in containers, sacks, plastics or their likes, stitch the jute bag to avoid spoilage. Place the bags on wooden pallets in a dry place with good ventilation.

Don’t place them on the floor to avoid moisture absorption that may spoil them.

Leave a clearance of 0.5m between each bag for air to circulate properly, sell the nuts within the same year of harvest to avoid nuts deterioration.

HOW TO ROAST CASHEW NUTS

Set fire and put a wire gauge on it, spread the nuts evenly and allow the heat from the fire to cook them. Don’t let them get burnt, turn them intermittently when the nuts are done they will give out nice flavour, you can remove one to check. Keep roasting them in sets until you exhaust all the nuts. You can rub salt on nuts to roast for taste some even rub oil.
Oven can also be used in roasting cashew nuts.

MARKETING

Locate companies that buy them for export, Indians have a
good representative of cashew companies in Zimbabwe. You also can sell directly to foreign buyers.