Agriculture

Thieves invade Cashew fields

THIEVES have invaded ripe cashew fields in Mitete district of Western Province, forcing farmers to spend sleepless nights guarding their high value crops.
This came to light in the continued tour of the Export Trading Group of companies (ETG) Project Manager Nyambe Luhila to access how cashew nut trees were faring after the first round of chemical spraying Mitete district.
One of the affected farmers, Headman Kenneth Lyabenga of Lyabenga village in Chief Situmbeko’s chiefdom alleged that thieves were stealing the ripe cashew nuts.
“You see, these thieves here have invaded my 450 ripe cashew trees, I am not sleeping. They steal these matured nuts, process them and mix them with cassava leaves for relish known as Ifisashi while the ripe fruit are used to brew Kachasu and local wine,” complained village headman Lyabenga.
Mr Lyabenga said many people in the district should engage in cashew nut growing in order to avoid stealing from those who started cashew production three years ago.
He also said his farm has started bearing fruits from his efforts and the knowledge obtained from Mitete agricultural camp extension officers.
Headman Lyabenga has since requested Export Trading Group of companies and the Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP) in the province to loan cashew farmers with wire fences in order to protect their farms from thieves.
Meanwhile, ETG Project Manager Nyambe Luhila who was accompanied by Mitete District Commissioner Mukwamataba Nayunda expressed gratitude that cashew farmers in the district were adhering to President Edgar Lungu’s call on the people to massively grow cashew in the province. Mr Luhila said once cashew is fully grown and managed properly, the usual talk of Western province being the poorest province in the country will come to an end.
And Mitete District Commissioner, Mukwamataba Nayunda said government through the Ministry of Agriculture in the district will heighten sensitization meetings with various communities against the alleged stealing of ripe cashew in the locality.
Mr Nayunda said emergency meeting would soon commence in all the 16 agricultural camps before the second round of spraying the cashew trees starts and feared that the district may witness deaths from the consuming of sprayed ripe cashew nut fruits by those who are in the habit of stealing of the crop. -ZANIS

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