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A CUT ABOVE THE REST: PRUNING FOR PRODUCTIVITY

For the novice gardener amongst us, the subject of pruning can bring a sense of dread – we’ve heard from all the experts that we’ll get more flower power as a result, yet can’t bring ourselves to take that all-important first snip, for fear of cutting off ‘the wrong bit’.

Now consider how you would feel if you relied on those plants to earn a living.

For cashew growers in Mozambique – and indeed most cash-crop farmers - money literally does grow on trees. Just like in our gardens, the cashew trees need regular and proper pruning to stay productive, but convincing a farmer to cut down their sole source of income is no mean feat. It is however vital to ensure their farms continue to produce year after year.

So in the cashew growing districts of Mogovolas, Moma and Larde, Olam has teamed up with Nampala-based NGO ComCashew (Competitive Cashew Initiative), to educate farmers on the benefits and techniques of pruning. The joint training programme, teaches farmers to rejuvenate their farms, using ‘model’ farms to replicate best practice, by removing and “stumping” unproductive or diseased trees and either replacing them with new saplings or grafting new growth from the remaining stump. The latter, known as “left stump regeneration”, is a new technique being introduced to the farmers.

The project is jointly funded by Olam and ComCashew and aims in the longer-term for
these farms to provide the proof that’s needed to convince more farmers to
participate and start pruning.