The Cashew Infrastructure Development Project (CIDP) has implored mothers to fully utilize cashew both as a nutritious and economic crop.

Principal Agricultural Officer, Rebecca Nalungwe, says cashew is both a nutritious and economic crop which, if fully utilized, can improve dietary diversity, intake and livelihoods of SUN households.

Ms Nalungwe has explained that cashew can help reduce stunting among children as well as enhance their cognitive development.

She was speaking at the Farmer Training Centre in Kalabo district during a Cashew Recipes’ Food Fair and Nutrition Talk which was attended by Agriculture Camp Extension Officers, members of the District Nutrition Coordinating Committee (DNCC) and cashew lead farmers among them women as well as Nutrition Support Group promoters.

“Both the grafted cashew as well as the commercially recommended and early maturing Brazilian dwarf are all good varieties which produce more yields for consumption and sale,” she said.

Ms Nalungwe has since implored lead famers to transfer the knowledge acquired and encourage SUN household mothers to earn a sustainable living through cultivation, consumption, and sale of cashew products along the value chain approach.

And Senior Food and Nutrition Officer, Monde Lisulo Hatembo, has implored mothers to explore various cashew recipes in order to enhance dietary diversity among children.

Ms Hatembo said cashew, through its various recipes, has potential to reduce the high stunting levels among children which is currently at 29.1 percent in Kalabo district.

“SUN households can improve the nutritional levels of children by exploring and consuming various cashew recipes.

“Cashewnut has several benefits which include stronger bones, improved eyesight and higher energy levels, among others,” she said.

Ms Hatembo explained that cashews nuts are highly nutritious and rich in macronutrients such as protein as well as micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals which can offer some useful health benefits to both mothers and children.

“Cashew contains a significant amount of copper, a mineral essential for energy production, healthy brain development, and a strong immune system. The crop is also a great source of magnesium and manganese, nutrients which are important for bone health.

“Cashew juice has five times more vitamins than orange,” she said, adding that cashewnut enhances fertility among women of reproductive age.

Speaking at the same function, Kalabo District Commissioner Musangu Njamba said government will use all possible strategies and interventions in a bid to improve the welfare as well as nutritional levels of mothers and children.

Mr Njamba disclosed that the new dawn administration is committed to transforming the agricultural sector in order to improve household food security for a healthy nation.

Meanwhile, District Nutrition Support Coordinator Inonge Nosiku has appealed to mothers to heed the call for them to explore cashew recipes in order to enhance their dietary diversity and avert malnutrition.

Ms Nosiku says cashew is an amazing food crop whose nutritional value can help reduce stunting among children who are below 2 years of age as well as reduce the risk of suffering from non-communicable diseases.

“Children under 2 years of age have increased energy needs to facilitate metabolic reaction that enhance growth and in turn reduce stunting. Children also have increased protein needs and with this, it’s vital that they are provided with foods like cashewnut which are rich in macronutrients to enhance growth.

“Apart from this, cashewnut is rich in healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which help reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes. The healthy fats also provide energy which is vital in children under 2 years of age,” she said.

CIDP is a mega project which has revived the cashew subsector fortunes in Western province and contributing towards the country’s food security, economic growth, poverty reduction and improved household income through improved cashew production, processing and marketing.

By design, half of the project’s target beneficiaries are women and youths.