Zambian cashew project in ‘Western province’ is deception

01 August 2017
Author  Saleya Kwalombota

The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) or (Ndongo ya simbangala as it is locally known in Barotseland) is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple. The cashew seed, often simply called a cashew, is widely consumed.

It is eaten on its own, used in recipes, or processed into cashew cheese or cashew butter. The cashew apple is a light reddish to yellow fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liquor.

It is important to note that the sandy areas of Barotseland have agriculture potential as opposed to desert sands of the Kalahari that need much exploring.

"Western Province", encompasses the soils good for cashew plantation that can improve the economy of the people and the nation at large. Already, Barotseland has some areas growing Cashew nuts which only need to be expanded and improved upon.

Strange to note that cashew plantation was introduced in Barotseland earlier than in Mozambique. The government of Mozambique in the 1990s visited Barotseland to learn about the cashew plantation and today cashew is one of its economic backbones while in Barotseland it is a sad story. The cashew plantation was discontinued in Barotseland by the MMD government for political reasons with ill intention of impoverishing the region in order for Zambia to continue its hegemony over the territory.

It's worth noting that Cashew nut has many economic and health benefits. The shell of the cashew nut yields can be used in many applications from lubricants to paints, and other parts of the tree have traditionally been used for treating snake-bites and for other folk remedies.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE CASHEW NUT

Prevents cancer, healthy Heart, lowers high blood pressure, healthy bones, helps in weight loss anti-oxidants etc.

Cashew shell oil extracted from the shells is caustic and causes burns on the skin. The mucous membranes of the mouth and throat are severely affected when they come into contact with shell oil or the irritating fumes emitted during roasting. The oily shell liquid has many uses.

Cardanol is a phenolic lipid which is the byproduct of cashew nut processing. It has several uses and applications in chemistry, chemical industries, additives industry and fuel industries for low sulphur diesel fuel.

In view of the aforementioned, the cashew plantation could have empowered the local people economically beyond doubt! Many cashew plantation dependent industries would have emerged and employment provided to many local people.

High unemployment would have been a thing of the past. At this juncture, people would remember that the Provincial Minister of "Western Province" Mr. Nathanal Mubukwanu on 8 Feb 2017 cited the US$55.4 Million Cashew Nut Project as a ‘gold mine’ that the people of "Western Province" would use to emancipate themselves from poverty.

As usual and as political custom in Zambia, the project the minister insinuated never materialized to date, keeping farmers of cashew tree growers in "Western Province" frustrated! However, it's not surprising and not the first time for unfulfilled pronouncements as the Zambian government under the PF regime at many times diverted funds meant for developmental projects for "western province".

Furthermore, people perceive the none implementation of the project as one of the lies of the ruling party, especially when soliciting support from traditional leadership, in this case, to go against people's self determination aspirations.

Nevertheless, the people of Barotseland are not frustrated with the Zambian government's neglect of the territory. The territory has wealthy and big brains capable of spurring the economic success within a short time through well planned developmental projects in areas of livestock, crop farming, forest and game management.

The much talked about poverty in Barotseland is politically engineered and not a true representation of the region potential wealth.

Therefore, the solution to end the poverty tag is also political which the people of Barotseland resolved through the 2012 BNC resolutions.

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.