The world demand for nuts has increased heavily over the past decade. This has also been recognised in Kenya, where there is great potential to increase the amount of cashew and macadamia nuts being imported to the EU. Yet, even though cashew nut production has traditionally been one of the main sources of livelihood at the coast, especially the cashew sector has struggled to fully benefit from this global trend. Currently, production is still well below the 1978 peak production of 38,000 metric tons.
To help smallholder farmers at the coast to re-invest and benefit from the growing demand, the European Union is working with Slovak Aid, Ten Senses Africa (TSA) and Farm Africa on project with the objective to increase the income of small-holder cashew nut farmers and create jobs at the coast.
This programme is funded with EUR 1.9 million under the EU Trust Fund for Africa and is already achieving noticeable results:
To further explore the potential of macadamia nut exports, EU Ambassador Mordue visited the TSA macadamia processing plant located in the Athi River Export Processing Zone. The visit was hosted by HE Frantisek Dlhopolcek, Ambassador of Slovakia to Kenya and included a tour of the factor to demonstrate the necessary steps before macadamia nuts are ready for export. Ten Senses Africa only processes Fair Trade and organic certified nuts to ensure farmers receive an income that allows them to improve their living standards. The visit was also attended by HE Zsolt Meszaros (Ambassador of Hungary), HE Martin Klepetko (Ambassador of the Czech Republic) and the Embassy of Poland.
EU Ambassador Mordue noted: ‘Great to see private sector dynamism in the agricultural sector at the Ten Senses Africa factory. It is impressive to see that the factory in Athi River employs 400 women alone, as well as benefits several thousand small-holder macadamia nut farmers. We hope similar initiatives can help create more meaningful jobs and income for farmers in the future, especially for women and young people.’