The Trade Promotion Advisor at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), in Lokoja, Kogi State, Mrs Amina Abdulmalik, has decried that Nigeria, which was formerly rated very high in the international market in terms of cashew production, is now behind countries like Ghana, Cote D’ Ivoire and Guinea Bissau.
Abdulmalik made this known at a workshop in Kogi, put together to provide technical support to enhance the capacity of cashew farmers and processors.
She stressed that to reverse the trend and significantly increase the annual production output of cashew in Nigeria, there was the need to support the farmers and processors with the requisite technical knowledge through intensive capacity-building workshops.
She noted that the technical support enjoyed by farmers and processors through the interventions of government and development partners in terms of training on best practices and standardisation would lead to an upsurge in production.
She said, “The capacity has enhanced their farmers to cultivate high yield varieties with short gestation period, while most Nigerian cashew farmers still count on ageing cashew from the wild, most other countries grow the jumbo size Brazilian type suitable for the international market.
“Virtually all the local government areas in Kogi State have cashew farmers with little or no prerequisite knowledge of cashew value addition, the farmers are faced with challenges of waste, poor packaging, finance, security, infrastructure and lack of basic knowledge of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
“The NEPC is passionate and committed to the development of non-oil export. This is very evident in the council’s Zero Oil Plan where the council has also supported the development of export value chain in cashew processing in recent time and the impact of several interventions have not been felt in terms of export of the commodity.
“Therefore, the need to increase the output of the country’s annual production capacity and also to encourage value addition through the establishment of processing centres in partnership with the OPS is enough justification for this workshop.”