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  • FG plans mass production of cashew for export

    Jul 22nd, 2018

    The Federal Government has initiated moves to encourage mass production of cashew and other agricultural products for exportation in a bid to boost the country’s non-oil revenue. Addressing participants at a workshop on ‘Acceptable practices for stakeholders across the cashew value chain’ in Enugu, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, said that cashew was a major component of the Federal Government’s ‘Zero Oil Plan’ campaign.

    The Zero Oil Plan, which is in line with the economic diversification agenda, involves massive production and marketing of cashew and the other concerned non-oil products. “With the approval of the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, NEPC initiated a non-oil export promotion campaign tagged the Zero Oil Plan. This non-oil export revolution campaign is set to bring a future economy where Nigeria would be able to survive even at zero export of crude oil.

    “Major components of the Zero Oil Plan are massive production and massive marketing of non-oil products and cashew is listed among the agricultural products in the lower value export products categories selected,” Awolowo said, in the address which was read on his behalf by an official of the NEPC.

    Awolowo also spoke on the need to address issues concerning quality, said to play a significant role in product acceptability and pricing. “Governments at various levels are working assiduously to ensure that the problems associated with poor quality, such as discounted pricing and outright rejects, are curtailed. As a member of the African Cashew Alliance, we hope that issues on cashew quality and appropriate pricing would further be addressed,” he said. Bemoaning the impact of the decline in the price of crude oil on the country’s economy, Awolowo said, “We realised cashew and indeed cashew farmers and other stakeholders have significant roles to play in the new order.”

    As part of the Zero Oil Plan, each state in the country is to concentrate on a particular non-oil product, which it will produce and develop for export. Enugu State Government adopted cashew, in line with the plan.  Speaking at the event, a director at the Enugu State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Umah Ossi, noted that the state had comparative advantage over other states in the country in the production of cashew. Ossi, who represented the permanent secretary in the ministry, said Enugu State intended to harness its huge cashew resources for export.

    He said, “Enugu State has comparative advantage over other states in the production of cashew – Enugu is the highest producer of cashew in Nigeria, followed by Kogi State. “Cashew has the potential to better the welfare of our people and we are looking at ways to maximise its production, and adopt global best practices in the management, handling and stocking of the product. We want to export our cashew products in order to enlarge our market and generate more revenue.” Some participants at the workshop, during the interactive session, called for more support from the government for cashew farmers, and producers of cashew-related products. They expressed concern over the poor pricing of the product.