The government has taken an initiative to encourage farmers to cultivate cashew nuts (kaju badam) as it has high economic value and attains the status of an export-oriented commodity.
The government will provide all out cooperation to promote cultivation of this crop, as the country has a huge scope to produce such types of crops, through the exports of which, the country can earn foreign currency.
Cashew nuts are a great source of high mineral, protein, fat, Vitamins and many more. With its amazing mouth watering flavor it also keeps people’s health free from risks like heart problems, cancer, gut problems and eye problems.
In this regard, a project involving Tk 211.84 crore has been taken up to provide all kinds of assistance, including supply of developed varieties of plants and necessary technical help and technology for those farmers and entrepreneurs who come forward to cultivate and process this obsolete crop.
The cashews are very much potential cash crops as the country has enormous possibility to cultivate the nuts which is native to Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America, including northeastern Brazil.
The hilly and northern regions of the country have a scope to cultivate cashews and coffee on a commercial basis.
On the other hand, the country has huge scope to export those crops as international markets have huge demand for nuts.
An official of the Planning Commission said, “The project has been processed. It will be presented at the next meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC). If approved, it is targeted to be implemented by June 2025, starting this year.”
This is the first cultivation in Bangladesh, he said adding that, as a result, some officials will go abroad for visiting some nut projects.
They will be able to come to the country and put it to use by gaining experience in this regard by visiting different countries in Africa, he added.
Zakir Hossain Akand, a member (secretary) of the Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Institutions Division of the Planning Commission in charge of the project, said, “Thailand is producing and processing cashew nuts and exporting it.”
If we can go there and start training on the processing method from planting seedlings to collecting nuts, there will be a huge potential for cashew nuts and coffee cultivation in the country, he mentioned.
That is why some foreign tours have been kept, he said adding, “Cashew nuts and coffee are still cultivated in hilly areas. But without processing, traders are exporting in the raw form. As a result, the profit is less.
However, the main activities of the project are: 2,250 exhibitions of cashew nuts, 5,250 coffee exhibitions, 49,500 farmer training, 480 officer training, overseas training, exposure visits, 20 excursion trips, supply of coffee processing equipment to 1,350 sets of farmer groups, an office building of Kaptai Horticulture Center in Rangamati, solar irrigation setup to provide irrigation facilities in 500 hilly areas, innovation of two new high yielding varieties of cashew nuts, collection of 25,000 germplasm, construction of modern field lab at 750 sq. Equipment purchase of 190 pieces of field equipment and 69 pieces of office equipment.
The objectives of the project are that through development and expansion of Cashew nuts and coffee varieties and management technology, production would be increased by 50 percent and the existing production area would be increased from 2,000 hectares to 6,000 hectares.
Germplasm collection, characterization, evaluation, preservation and high yielding and improved varieties of cashew nuts and coffee crops will be developed.
Due to lack of improved varieties, management technology and good marketing management, crop cultivation has not become profitable and popular.
Apart from hilly areas, Dinajpur, Panchagarh, Cumilla, Sylhet, Tangail and Mymensingh districts are suitable for Cashew nut and coffee cultivation.