The federal government plans to establish cashew processing facilities in four states in order to add value to the products and create employment and prosperity in the country.
Chief Minister Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) in Abuja. Ogbeh said the move would also reduce the waste of cashews and delay the export of raw nuts from the country.
According to him, we are currently wasting an estimated 8 million tons of cashews every year.
He said that the long-term solution to the delay in the export and storage of cashews in ports is for Nigeria to be an exporter of finished products and not of raw materials.
Ogbeh listed the states where the plants would be installed to include Enugu, Benue, Kogi and Oyo.
“The challenge is usually access to credit because a good line of cashew processing will cost around two million dollars to do something like 10 to 20 tons per day.We aim to establish at least one plant each in Enugu and Benue , two plants each in the states of Kogi and Oyo, these are the main producers of cashew now.
“We want to assure those interested in the cashew that in our next level activities, we intend to stop the export of raw nuts and process all our cashew nuts here and we hope, by the grace of God, to have one or two plants ready before next year.
“We’re talking to Brazilians now, we want to bring machines from Brazil to process the cashew fruit in juice that has a high vitamin C content.
“It’s very good for our health because we are currently losing approximately eight million tons of cashew nuts per year, throwing them away,” he said.
“That’s what the West African Cashew Association told me, only in Nigeria, that we wasted eight million tons.
“This is our concern, we are very concerned with this development, but later in the year, I will have a meeting with the producers of cashew nuts and the farmers’ association to sit down with the CBN and get help.”
The minister, who lamented that the country has been a major importer of goods and services, said the government is determined to change the trend.
“The challenge that Nigeria faces is that we have been an importing nation that has destroyed our economy.
“We want to change now and become a nation of exporters.
“We have to find unorthodox ways to find capital for those who want to grow these industries because, on their own, they can not meet the conditions of banks and financial institutions.
“It is impossible for them to raise the necessary capital, which is why the CBN initiatives are very important for us, we have been working with them and we are achieving results.”
“The treasure of Nigeria, including the CBN, has to find a way to overcome obstacles, mountains, rivers, blocking our path to industrial growth.
“If not, we will remain perpetually poor and permanently unable to create wealth and create jobs for our people,” he said.