By Steve Ephraem
THE business of edible nuts production on commercial basis for small holder farmers in the communal lands is getting exciting following a new model which sees chest nuts compliment the production of macadamia nuts in the Eastern region of Zimbabwe.
The chest nut initiative is being introduced by a community based project called Macadamia Empowerment Grouping Association (MEGA).
Initially, small scale holder farmers under MEGA in Mutare North and Honde Valley areas introduced a 20 tree macadamia nuts orchard model as a way of transforming livelihoods in the communal areas.
The MEGA initiative targets an income of around US$2,400 per annum per a small holder farmer when macadamia nuts trees start yielding after five years and effective when the grower doesn’t apply shortcuts in the trade.
This saw a model macadamia nuts project established at Chirasika Primary School, Arda Transau in Mutare North Constituency last October, wholly donated by the incumbent Member of Parliament, Hon Mike Madiro.
Now, MEGA suggests that chest nuts are to compliment macadamia nuts business in order to help ease the macadamia nuts production.
Speaking to Post On Sunday from his House Valley offices, the Coordination for MEGA Elvis Nyanhongo indicated that chest nut production has several benefits.
“Unlike macadamia nuts which require up to five seasons to start bearing fruits, chest nuts only need three years. This is beneficial for our small scale macadamia nuts farmers since in the third they will start to have some income while waiting for the macadamia nut to yield.
“Chest nuts can be grown in the scope with macadamia nuts and pay nearer to what macadamia is doing. This helps our farmers to generate income prior to the yield of macadamia nuts,” said Nyanhongo.
Nyanhongo further indicated that the chest nut trees can be used for bee-keeping and the wood can be used for fuel or timber.