Cashew farming has been an important agricultural activity in Uganda since her independence. Cashew farming is so intense that the Ugandan government has developed programmes to promote the venture.
There is no doubt that cashew farming is a lucrative business because the demand is high due to the consumption rate and exportation.
So, if you are interested in starting a cashew farming business in Uganda, the steps to take include obtaining a farm site, farm site preparation, planting, watering plants, fertilizing and mulching, weed and pest/disease control, pruning, and harvest.
Journey with us to acquire all the information you need to succeed in this agricultural venture.
How to Start Cashew Farming Business in Uganda Step By Step
The cashew farming business is lucrative, with just a handful of cashew farmers in the country. Cashew farming is long-term as it reproduces for decades if properly cared for.
Cashew nuts have many benefits as they serve as food, raw material for manufacturing companies, and many more.
Below is the guideline to follow on how to start a cashew farming business in Uganda.
Step 1: Obtain a Farm Site
To begin your venture into cashew farming is to acquire a farm site. Depending on your budget, you can buy the land, which is the best option because cashew continues to yield for up to 20 years. On the other hand, you can rent land that is not suitable.
Also, before you settle to choose a farm site, you must consider the weather and soil conditions.
High temperature is the best weather condition for cashew plants. You might select a land where the temperature does not fall below 20 degrees so the plant can germinate properly.
Also, the best soil where cashew seeds can be planted is sandy-loamy soil. The soil should not be too loose and should not retain so much water, which can adversely affect plant growth.
Bearing these two vital factors in mind, it will help inform your action to select the ideal farming site where you can plant your cashew plants.
Step 2: Farm Site Preparation
The next phase is the preparation of the farm site. Possibly the land you acquired is a forest area, followed land, or previously planted farm. Whichever it is, you have to prepare the ground so that you can grow your cashew seeds.
The steps to prepare the farmland suitable for cashew farming are discussed below. You have to
Clear the Farmland
The mode of clearing farm sites differs depending on the land size and the extent of unwanted plants. If it is forest land, you must deforest using heavy machines to pull down trees and shrubs.
It is best to use mechanized tools such as tractors to hasten the process compared to manual labor (hiring laborers), which can take days and even weeks.
Dispose of the Waste
The next thing you have to do after clearing the farmland of unwanted plants you have to clean up the land by getting rid of the dirt and debris. You have to gather and burn the wastes or use alternative methods to dispose of all the rubbish.
Try your best to tidy up the farmland so that the weeds will grow and not grow back almost immediately.
Plough and Harrow the Land
Plowing and harrowing is an essential preparation process in land preparation. Ploughing the farmland will help loosen the soil, and harrowing will help break and smooth the soil surface.
It is best to use tractors so that the process can be faster than manually performing it.
Leveling the farmland should be done to even out contours and run slopes. This will lead to uniform distribution of water in the fields during irrigation.
Also, it will help prevent the top fertile soil from being carried away by strong winds or washed away by rain water.
Step 3: Planting
There are different methods of planting cashew seeds. Before you commence planting, you have to dig a planting hole that is 2-3 cm deep. The various planting methods are:
This involves pouring the cashew seedling directly into the planting hole. 2-3 seeds are enough for each planting hole. However, direct planting is longer than the other planting methods as it can take up to 5-years to produce.
Ensure that the seed is planted upright in the planting hole or farm bed. Also, ensure you adhere to the planting space rule of 10to 12 meters apart to avoid competition.
Effective transplanting involves transferring sprouted Seedlings from a nursery or plant trays/containers to the farm beds or planting holes.
The cashew seeds are planted in a nursery using a planting tray, bag, or container long before the cashew planting season.
You can also plant propagated cashew plants done by grafting if you don’t have access to direct planting or transplanting. The two grafting methods used are side and wedge grafting. The sprouted plant can be cut and transferred to the planting hole to continue its growth.
This method is best applicable if there is no cashew seed or sprouted plant in your region.
Step 4: Water the Plants
Cashew can survive hot weather even the winter season, it is important that you make provision for watering system. Watering the cashew plants is essential because it aids the growth and transport of nutrients and keeps the plant from losing moisture. Since you are undertaking cashew farming which often requires using a large farm, it is best to prepare irrigation to complement rainfall during the dry season.
Step 5: Fertilizing and Mulching
Applying fertilizer to your cashew farm is important to help replenish lost soil nutrients and aid in speeding growth. You can meet with an expert to determine the best fertilizer application for your cashew farm.
Also, it is essential to mulch the plants, preferably using organic materials to conserve moisture and prevent weeds from growing. You can make use of polythene, dry weeds or grass.
Step 6: Weed and Pest/Disease Control
Don’t be like most farmers that rest after planting their cashew seeds. Weeding and pest/disease control are necessary to keep the cashew plant healthy and increase yield.
You can use a hoe and cutlass to remove the weeds around the plants to give more space and avert competition. Also, chemical weeding can be used. Pesticides and herbicides should be sprayed to kill insects, fungus, and bacteria that can affect the plant.
Step 7: Pruning
Cashew trees grow sporadically within 3-4 years, with branches extending more than needed. To promote plant growth, it is essential to prune the trees by cutting away overgrown, untidy, weak, entwined, dead, or infested branches or stems.
Step 8: Harvest
Cashew plants grow to maturity bearing fruits after 3-4 years, during the period whereby the matured fruits can be harvested. The ripened fruit can be picked on the ground or plucked directly from the tree.
Major Problems Facing Cashew Farming in Uganda
Cashew farming is a significant agricultural activity in Uganda. However, the enterprise is not without challenges that happily can be managed and overcome.
Some of the significant problems facing cashew farming in Uganda are:
Fungal and bacterial diseases
Poor seed quality
How long do Cashew Trees Take to Grow?
Venturing into cashew farming requires patience because it takes longer to grow into full maturity. Planting quality cashew seeds is essential in cashew farming.
However, it is best to transplant from sprouted plants or graft for speedy growth. Planting direct seedlings take a more extended period to germinate. Typically, it takes 3-5 years for a cashew plant to mature.
How Long Does It Take Cashew to Start Fruiting?
Cashew farming takes a long time to mature. The first fruiting takes 3-5 years to produce. If you want to beat the five-year estimation, it is best to plant using sprouted plants from a nursery, as it takes three years to make the first fruiting.
Can Cashew Nuts Grow in Uganda?
Cashew nuts can grow anywhere as the temperature is favorable. In Uganda, the cashew nut is farmed mainly because the weather and soil components are advantageous to the plant.
How Many Cashews Grow Per Hectare?
Going into cashew farming means you are interested in the commercial farm business. So, it is best to farm on a large area of land. To give you an insight into how many cashews grow per hectare, you can get about 177 cashew trees per hectare.
How to get Cashew Nuts Seeds in Uganda?
Cashew seed is needed to begin your cashew farming. In choosing your cashew seeds, you have to obtain quality seeds from accredited vendors that will influence the yield level during the harvest season.
In Uganda, you can get cashew seeds from existing cashew farmers. Better still, you can go to an agricultural shop near you to purchase your seedlings, or you can surf the internet.
Cashew Nuts Price in Uganda
Cashew nuts price in Uganda dependents differs based on the season and quantity. The cost of fresh Cashew nuts is estimated to be 37,000 Ugandan shilling per kg. If you are interested in purchasing roasted cashew nuts with iodized table salt is estimated to be 40,000 Ugandan shilling per kg.
From our discourse on how to start a cashew farming business in Uganda, it is evident that the enterprise is lucrative. Why? Because cashew is in high demand, either fresh or processed, also, for the fact that there are few cashew farmers in the country.
However, the process can be tasking and requires patience; in the end, if you choose to become a cashew farmer, today ad begins to enjoy its benefits.