Cashew nut farming was once a household name and was equally treasured as it was the backbone of the economy of Kilifi County and the entire Coast region which also contributed immensely to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Decades later the once treasured cashew nut trees have now been cut down for fuel use with others left to grow into bushes after the collapse of the Kenya Cashew nut factory 25- years ago.
This has left the farmers and residents to languish in dire poverty after the collapse of the factory that led to the drastic decline in farming of the crop.
According to a former personal manager at the Kenya cashew nut Limited, 79 year old Mr. Mark Mbui, the company came to being in the county in 1975 and by the early 80’s the factory was processing about 60-70 tons per day and had employed a labour force of 3000 workers.
Mbui says during…show more content… H e notes with concern that with the collapse of the factory, many farmers have lost interest in the once treasured coastal ‘gold’ and have since then paid attention to other crops such as maize, cassava, fruits and the only surviving coconut trees as a cash crop.
Mbui’s sentiments of reviving the industry is greatly echoed by a former employee of the Kenya cashew nut limited Mrs. Kadzo Nzaro, a mother of nine who laments that since the collapse of the factory in the early 1990s life has never been easy.
She attributes the increased level of poverty in the area as hugely contributed by the collapse of the industry as many people lost their source of income and have not been able to fend for their families.
“When the factory was in operation, we could cater for our family’s different needs and do so many other things. Some parents cannot take their children to school now and as a result many young people have indulged in drug abuse”, she