Minister: Cashew remains Nigeria’s focal area for export, revenue generation
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, yesterday, assured that cashew value chain remains Federal Government’s focal area for export and revenue generation.
Abubakar made the declaration while receiving the delegation of African Cashew Alliance, ACA, led by its President, Otunba Babatola Faseru, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
He commended the ACA on its move to organize maiden ACA conference in Abuja, which he said would bring about new knowledge and productivity along the value chain as well attract investors.
He promised support of the Ministry for the conference to make it a success.
He said cashew is like cocoa that generates high foreign exchange for Nigeria that boosts farmers’ profitability.
He also maintained that the Ministry is ready to collaborate with stakeholders in the cashew value chain towards enhancing quality seedlings, increase production and income generation.
According to him, cashew had become a national commodity that grows across the 36 State of the federation, and it is a strong indication of its potential to galvanize the economy, which also cocoa had being a second foreign exchange earner for the economy.
He said: “The focus of the present administration is the growth of the agricultural sector and once that is achieved we have set a base for economic growth.
“Every single value chain in the agricultural sector is important and if they come together, they would make a big difference, in the area of Food and Nutrition Security.
Meanwhile, the Minister promised the Ministry’s continued support for the cashew value chain, which he made it known that the Ministry had built capacity of smallholder farmers on cashew production, processing and packaging.
Earlier, in a remark, the President of African Cashew Alliance, ACA, Otunba Babatola Faseru, stated that ACA is a non-governmental organization created in 2005 with the mandate of promoting a global competitive African Cashew industry that would benefit the entire value chain from farmers to consumers.
However, Faseru lamented that Africa loses over 2000 jobs in the cashew value chain annually, and for Nigeria alone cashew value chain alone could provide provide over 1000 jobs annually.
”Jigawa and Kebbi States are doing well in cashew production. We want support from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to move the Cashew sub-sector forward”, he stated.
Also speaking was the President of Cashew Association of Nigeria, CAN, Hon Ojo Ajanaku, disclosed Nigeria has about 600, 000 surviving cashew trees spread across the country.
According to Ajanaku, currently 75 per cent to 80 per cent of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria are exported, as only very few companies are involved in the local processing of the commodity.
He also said 60 per cent of the world’s cashew growth is from Africa, hence more needs to be done to boost cashew processing and investment in Nigeria as a leading African country producing and exporting cashew.