Yesterday, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, reaffirmed that the Federal Government’s primary focus for export and revenue creation remains the cashew value chain.
At ACA’s delegation’s reception at the Ministry’s Abuja headquarters, Otunba Babatola Faseru, the organization’s president, made the announcement on behalf of Abubakar.
He praised the ACA for planning the first ACA conference in Abuja, saying that it will increase productivity and expertise across the value chain and draw in investors.
He pledged the Ministry’s assistance for the conference in order to ensure its success.
He claimed that cashews, like cocoa, produce significant amounts of foreign exchange for Nigeria, increasing farmer profitability.
He added that the Ministry is prepared to work with those involved in the cashew value chain to improve seedling quality, boost output, and generate money.
He claimed that cocoa was the second foreign exchange earner for the economy, and that cashew had become a national commodity that flourishes throughout the 36 States of the federation. This is a clear sign of cashew’s ability to stimulate the economy.
He stated: “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.
In the meantime, the Minister pledged that the Ministry would continue to promote the cashew value chain and disclosed that the Ministry had given smallholder farmers training in cashew production, processing, and packing.
Otunba Babatola Faseru, the president of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), said earlier that the organization’s mission is to promote a globally competitive African cashew business that will benefit everyone along the value chain, from farmers to consumers.
Faseru regretted that the cashew value chain accounts for over 2000 job losses in Africa each year, despite the fact that the cashew value chain could support over 1000 employment in Nigeria alone.
”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.
Hon. Ojo Ajanaku, President of the Cashew Association of Nigeria (CAN), also spoke. He revealed that Nigeria has over 600,000 cashew trees still growing throughout the nation.
Ajanaku claims that today, between 75 and 80 percent of the cashew nuts produced in Nigeria are exported because so few businesses are engaged in the local processing of the product.
Additionally, he noted that 60% of the world’s cashew growth originates in Africa; as a result, more has to be done to promote cashew processing and investment in Nigeria, a major cashew-producing and -exporting nation in Africa.