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    | By Rodgers Tembo |

    Mongu District has recorded a total of 992 female cashew seedlings beneficiaries in the just ended 2019/2020 cashew seedlings distribution amid the hurdles of land ownership by women in the province.

    Mongu District planted a total of 407, 474 seedlings and distributed about 342, 912 seedlings to a total of about 2, 782 beneficiary farmers across the district, of which 1,285 were adult males, 748 were adult females, 480 were youth males, and 244 were youth females.

    The Cashew Infrastructure Development Project guidelines stipulate that 50% participation should be offered to women. Since inception the project emphasises on the need for women and youth participation in order to alleviate poverty through empowerment of the women and youths.

    The season’s seedlings were raised in community nurseries under the guidance of the contractor ETG who hired and trained nursery managers from within the communities.

    The nursery operators were urged, during their training, to ensure that women and youths were prioritized during registration and distribution of the seedlings.

    And Mongu District Coordinator Chabalanga Ng’ambi urged the camp officers in the district to encourage the women to take up roles of lead farmers and be active members of cooperatives, which will be linked to the various cashew infrastructure management activities in the various zones.

    “The idea is to have a farmer-led cashew industry through cooperatives, so let’s encourage and mobilise our farmers, especially potential women lead farmers to join existing cooperatives or form new ones in zones without cooperatives”, Mr Ng’ambi said.

    Mr Ng’ambi further urged the men/husbands to engage and encourage their wives and spouses to fully participate in the project in order to facilitate a paradigm shift on gender.

    Meanwhile, youths in Kama agricultural camp shunned participating in the planting exercise, stating that they cannot plant a crop that takes years to reap the benefits, with no guarantee that it will actually bear any fruits.

    Abel Mubiana, a youth in the camp, said he did not want to plant any cashew because the tree takes long to mature and he is not sure if he’ll even live to see the tree mature.

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