The Federal Government in collaboration with the Ogun State Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has said that strategies are being put in place to optimize the benefits derivable from growing, processing, and adding value to cashew production and its value chain.
This was revealed at the one-day stakeholders’ interactive session organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council ( NEPC) and Ogun State Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment on cashew production with the theme, ” Cashew Value Chain Global Best Practices- Way forward for export competitiveness” in Imasayi, Yewa North Local Government area of Ogun State.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Olu. Ola. Aikulola, in his keynote address said that Nigerian economy had over the years leaned on the fragile leg of crude oil which underscored the need to shift towards non-oil export.
Aikulola pointed out that cashew serves as one of the state’s champion products under the One-State, One-Product ( OSOP Initiative), saying that the stakeholders’ engagement would help identify the challenges militating against cashew farming and cashew nut processing, areas of intervention while needed update is provided on international market requirements for cashew export.
The Permanent Secretary said that the present administration in the State has put in place efforts geared towards creating relevant policies, initiatives, and programmes for a more robust and enabling environment for business concerns to thrive.
According to him, Yewa North Local Government area has a comparative advantage in cashew production, saying ‘’What we are doing today is one of the interventions to teach farmers the strategies to make the best of cashew planting, cashew production so that they can make the most of the value-adding dimensions and take advantage of the benefits’’.
“We hope this stakeholders meeting will be more impactful in making farmers more aggressive in cashew production. The important thing is that in the next year, we would have moved from point A to point B in the production and value addition of cashew, not only in Imasayi or Yewa North Local Government Area but in Ogun State at large,” he said.
Earlier, the Coordinator, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Ogun State Office, Mrs. Francisca Odega, said the agency recognized the strategic importance of the cashew sector in achieving diversification of the economy, adding that farmers, processors, and aggregators should remain acutely aware of the evolving international markets requirements for cashew export.
Odega called for concerted efforts on the part of the stakeholders to ensure that Ogun cashew products are not only competitive but also sought-after in the global market.
In his remarks, the Olu of Imasayi, Oba Lukman Adeleke, who thanked the government for its renewed move to revive cashew production in the state, assured that his locality will produce 20,000 metric tons of cashew annually if cashew farmers are properly funded.
The meeting had representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Safety, National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) as well as cashew farmers, processors, and aggregators, among others in attendance.