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Good Practices for the Establishment of a New Cashew Farm

African Cashew initiative (ACi) P. O. Box KIA 9698 32, Nortei Ababio Street Airport Residential Area Accra, GHANA p + 233 302 77 41 62 f + 233 302 77 13 63 E-mail: cashew@giz.de w:www.aci.africancashewalliance.com

Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) Cashew Unit-Directorate of Crop Services P. O. Box M37 Accra, Ghana. E-mail: info@mofa.gov.gh w: http://www.mofa.gov.ghana

MOFA

The block of pictures is accomplished to facilitate the sessions of animation with the farmers for the establishment of their new cashew orchards. Its instructive in form, picture on the front and text on the overleaf this helps the animator to get the key messages across with the aim of the improving actual practices. The animator will need almost one hour to communicate the key messages contained in this block of pictures. Questions and answers act as a guide for the animator and should not be read continuously during the session with the farmers. Suggestions of modifications by the farmers are welcome for the improvement of this block of pictures.

Step 1: Site selection


Question: What are Atta and his family doing by the road side? Answer: They are inspecting the land for the establishment of their new cashew farm. Question: Which areas are the most suitable for cashew cultivation? Answer: The savanna and transitional zones are the most suitable areas for cashew cultivation. In Ghana cashew trees can grow and produce well in some districts in the Northern, Brong-Ahafo, Volta, Upper West and Central Regions. Question: What types of soils are suitable for Atta for cashew farming? Answer: He can establish his farm on almost all type of soils from sandy to laterite, deep, fertile and well drained soils. Question: What types of soils are not suitable for cashew farming? Answer: Heavy clay soils with poor drainage condition and also excessive alkalinity and salinity soils as well as areas prone to water logging and hard pan are not suitable for cashew growing.

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Step 2: Land clearing


a. Bush Question: What is Atta and Kofi doing in the farm? Answer: They are clearing all the bushes and undergrowth with machetes. Question: What is Amina doing in the farm? Answer: She is removing all cut woods and twigs. Question: Why is Amina removing the cut woods and twigs from the farm? Answer: She is removing all cut woods and twigs because the cashew trees do not tolerate shade. She is also collecting two piles of sticks. Question: Why is she collecting two piles of sticks? Answer: The long sticks will be used for the staking and the shorter one for fencing to protect the young plantings Question: In which period is Atta clearing his farm? Answer: In the dry season (during March)

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Information: Do not burn the cleared land as burning destroy the organic matter in the soil, causes erosion and loss of soil fertility.

Step 3: Land clearing

b. Fallow land Question: What is Atta doing in the farm? Answer: He is weeding his old farm with a hoe. Question: What will Atta do with the cleared weeds? Answer: He will leave them on the ground to decompose. Question: In which period is Atta weeding his farm? Answer: In the dry season (during March)

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Information: Do not burn the cleared land as burning destroy the organic matter in the soil, causes erosion and loss of soil fertility.

Step 4: Line and Pegging


Question: What is Atta and Kofi doing now? Answer: Atta and Kofi are marking the plant holes with the sticks using a rope. Question: What is the plant spacing? Answer: The plant spacing is 10 m by 10 m (100 trees per ha). Question: What periods do Atta line and peg his farm? Answer: In the dry season before the rains start (End of March and beginning of April)

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Information: To get the right spacing its important to layout according to the square. The farmer needs to seek the MOFA AEAs assistance.

Step5: Digging the holes


Question: What is Atta and Kofi doing now? Answer: Atta and Kofi are digging the plant holes with the dribbler, machete and hoe. Question: How are they digging the plant holes? Answer: They start by measuring a stick of 30 cm to be used for the width and the depth of the hole. Then they dig the hole with dribbler and remove the soil with hoe. Question: Why do they separate the soil in two parts? Answer: They put the top soil on one side and the lower layer on the other side because the top soil is more fertile. During the planting he will put the top soil in the hole first. Question: In which period is Atta digging the plant holes for his new cashew farm? Answer: After the first rains (Mid April)

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Step 6: Refilling the planting holes


Question: What are Atta and Kofi doing now? Answer: Atta and Kofi are refilling the plant holes. Question: How are they refilling the plant holes? Answer: They put the top soil first and the lower layer second. If the soil of the farm is very poor they could add some manure. Question: Which type and quantity of manure do they apply? Answer: They mix the soil with compost or well decomposed cow dung at the rate of one bucket (size 34 = 10 kg) per tree. Question: In which period is Atta refilling the plant holes? Answer: Two to four weeks after the digging (May).

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Information: Its important to put back the sticks to identify the plant hole location. Its important also to leave the dugout soil for a minimum period of two weeks to allow complete decomposition and thus avoid killing the plant.

Step 7: Planting
Atta has two options to obtain plant material for his new cashew farm: I. II. Sowing with cashew seed nuts or Using grafted plants.

Atta has chosen the grafted plants. Question: What is Atta doing? Answer: Atta is planting the grafted plant. Question: How is he planting? Answer: Atta makes a hole deep according to the size (7cm by 10 cm) of the seedling poly bag. He cuts with a knife the poly bag at the base, placing the seedling in the hole, pulling up carefully the poly bag. Then he covers the plant with the soil but leaves the collar free of soil. Question: Which period is Atta planting the grafted seedlings? Answer: Atta is planting after a rainfall (at the beginning of June till mid July).

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Information: Atta can obtain his grafted plants in a nursery in the community. He can ask the MOFA AEA to assist him. After planting the empty poly bags must be removed from the field. Its important to build a small mole to prevent too much water collecting in the plant hole. In the southern zone replacement is carried out in the minor rainy season. In the Northern zone replacement is carried out in the following years rainy season.

Step 8: Fertilization
The soil in Attas farm is poor, due to lack of nutrients. He can apply compost or manure if these are not available then Atta can apply to chemical fertilizer to improve nutrients in the soil, as the third option. Question: What is Atta doing? Answer: Atta is applying fertilizer on the plant. Question: What type of fertilizer is he applying? Answer: Sulfate of Ammonia (SA) and Triple Superphosphate (TSP) Question: When and at what rate is he applying? Answer: One month after transplanting at 70g of SA (2/3 of milk tin) third and 100 g (1 full milk tin) of TSP per plant. That means 10 kg of TSP PER HA and 7kg of SA per ha

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Step 9: Seed nuts selection


Atta has two options to obtain plant material for his new cashew farm: Sowing with cashew seed nuts or using grafted plants. Atta has chosen the seed nuts option. He will obtain the seeds from the elite mother trees of mature farms. Question: How are the mother trees selected? Answer: The characteristics of good trees are high yield; large nuts/good apples and consistency in fruiting are looked for among the cashew trees. Question: When are the mother trees selected? Answer: The observation starts during the fruiting period over two to three years. Atta must mark the identified trees, record the yield, nuts count (100 - 170 per kg), tree age and farm sanitation. Question: How are the seed nuts harvested? Answer: Atta should pick the nuts under the mother trees by detaching the nut properly from the apple, sun dry and sort (discarding small, shriveled, disease or damaged) Question: When does Atta start the seed collection? Answer: During the harvest period (January to March) after choosing the mother trees in the past seasons. Question: How does Atta know that his seed nuts are good quality for sowing? Answer: He conducts a water test to establish the seed nuts density before sowing, by following the steps below: 1. He prepares a salt solution by dissolving one tablespoon of salt (10 g) in 6 and half bottles of the big mineral water (10liters) in a bucket. 2. He soaks the seed-nuts in the salt solution for about 5 minutes 3. Select seed-nuts which sunk. 4. Then he soaks the selected seed-nuts in clean-salt water for 8 hours to obtain good germination. 5. The seed nuts will be air-dried before the next rainy day for sowing.

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Step 10: Sowing of seed nuts


Question: What is Atta doing? Answer: He is sowing two seed nuts in the planting hole (mole-shaped). Question: At what depth and spacing does Atta sow the seed nuts? Answer: He sows the seed nuts at 3cm to 5 cm depth and 15 cm apart Question: How is the position of the seed nuts when sowing? Answer: The stalk end of the seed nut is positioned pointing upwards and slightly inclined Question: When does Atta sow the seed nuts in his new farm? Answer: Atta sows the seed nuts after a rainfall (at the beginning of June till mid July).

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Step 11: Protecting the young plants


Question: What is Atta doing? Answer: He is fencing the young plants. Question: Which materials does Atta use to make the fencing? Answer: To make the fencing, Atta uses the small sticks which Amina has collected during the clearing of the land Question: When does Atta make a fence to protect the young plants? Answer: Atta makes the fence one week after the sowing (ending of July).

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Step 12: Weeding and establishment of intercrops in the new cashew farm
Question: What is Atta doing? Answer: He is weeding the cashew farm. Question: What is Amina doing in the farm? Answer: Amina is sowing maize between the rows of cashew plants. Question: Why does Atta establish inter crops in his new cashew farm? Answer: 1) to increase crop production per unit area, 2) to reduce maintenance cost of the cashew farm, 3) to improve soil fertility when leguminous crop are grown and 4) to reduce weed infestation and risk of bush fire. Question: At which distance of the cashew row does Atta establish the intercrop? Answer: Atta plants intercrops at 1m from the main trunk of the young cashew plants Question: Apart from maize which other crops can Atta establish in the new cashew farm? Answer: Food crops like groundnuts, soybean, sorghum, yam, pepper or pineapple Question: How long can Atta establish intercrops in his cashew farm? Answer: Till the cashew trees develop their crown / canopy till the canopy closes (crown touch one another).

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Step 13: Gap filling


Question: What is Atta doing? Answer: He is feeling the gap with some seedlings. Question: When can Atta fill the gaps in his cashew farm? Answer: Atta can fill-in the gaps at the beginning of the rainy season in the second year (May-June)

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Step 14: Pruning the young cashew tree


Question: What is Atta doing? Answer: He is pruning the lower branches with a bow saw. Question: At which height does Atta prune his young cashew trees? Answer: Atta can prune at the height of 1m (50% of the height of the young tree). Question: When can Atta prune his young cashew trees? Answer: At the beginning of the rainy season in the second year (May-June)

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