The National- Wednesday, January 26, 2011
By BOSORINA ROBBY
THE cashew nut industry in Papua New Guinea has the potential to generate more than K7.5 million a year from a 1,000ha plantation at current world prices.
This was revealed yesterday by Cashew International Ltd yesterday when it made its first-ever purchase of cashew nuts from a local grower.
The Pawalagai Cashew Supplies, a family business headed by Gary Pepena of Aroma Coast, Central, sold 168kg of nuts to CIL at current world prices of US$0.80-US$0.85 (K2.23 to K2.37) per kilo.
Pepena’s sale netted them with at least K420 after CIL bought the nuts at a special price of K2.50.
It was their first commercial harvest from a 2ha plantation which was developed in 2006.
Pepena said the initial sale has encouraged them to grow 2,000 more cashew trees from the present crop of only 428.
He said they were pleased that there was a market for them.
CIL general manager Ron Bell stressed that the cost of cashew nuts depended on the world market prices which changed according to world demands.
He, however, said since this was their first ever sales, he was buying the nuts at K2.50/kg to make it a special occasion.
Bell said cashew was a commercial crop that was best suited to the coastal climates of PNG, which, when well kept, would bear fruits for at least 100 years, with an average of 15kg of nuts per tree.