.Decry foreign encroaching on cashew farms
.Ogun prepares ground for increased rice farming
The ongoing economic diversification policy of President Muhammadu Buhari may have paid off as there has been significant increase in cash export across the country, going by the figures reeled out by cashew farmers.
Consequently, the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) has disclosed that its members earned a total of $402.50million (about N123billion) from cashew export in 2017.
The group, comprising cashew farmers, processors and exporters nationwide, also called on the Federal Government to protect the industry from collapse, as foreigners now encroach on cashew farms and avail them with incentives to expand the trade.
The farmers disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja when they visited the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ms Aisha Abubakar.
The group, led by its President, Mr. Tola Fasheru, while presenting their scorecard to the minister as well as some of the challenges confronting the association including a loan of N20billion for boosting their capital base and other issues confronting cashew production and export, sought the minister’s help to overcome their challenges.
In a statement by the Deputy Director, Media of the Ministry, Jimi Oyetomi, the farmers requested the Federal Government “to immediately stop foreign nationals encroachment onto farm gates of Nigerian Cashew farmers, find solution to Apapa gridlock in Lagos, which they said is negatively impacting on export as well as provision of 2,600, 000 Jute bags to pack cashew nut harvest for 2108.
The statement reads in part, “Other requests of the NCAN include provision of N20billion towards 2018 cashew export, which the association already has a contract value of N122billion for more active involvement of FPIS in the less than 10% Cashew Moisture Protocol in the farm gates across the country.
“The group highlighted their achievements which includes being the 4th largest producer of Cashew in the World’s production of 2, 100, 000 tons by producing 220, 000 mts in 2017 and exporting 120, 000mts cashew nuts in 2017.”
The NCAN disclosed further that their contribution to national export earnings from cashew has been on the steady rise since 2015 when their export earnings rose from $152,000,000 (2015) to $259,000,000 in 2016 and $402,050,000 in 2017.
The group disclosed that their major trading partner are the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas) with business alliances with African Cashew Alliance (ACA), USAID/NEXTT and a collaboration with Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI).
The NCAN President commended the commitment of the Federal Government to re-position the economy through Cashew; and also disclosed preference of international marketers for the Nigeria brand of Cashew nuts.
Responding, Aisha Abubakar reiterated the commitment of the government to support the association.
The minister commended the contribution NCAN to the huge improvements in cashew farming, processing and production, saying that the cashew farmers are contributing to the growth of the national economy in the areas of job creation and boosting foreign exchange earnings.
The minister promised that urgent necessary steps would be taken to ameliorate the problems of Cashew farmers and exporters in collaboration with other agencies directly involved with the identified challenges to Cashew production, packaging and export.
Other members of the delegation include the First Vice-President, Mr. Steven Ahiaba, VP West, Mr. Saliu Alasa, VP East, C.J Kanu, VP North, and Mr. John Olonta, among others.
Meanwhile, towards increased cultivation of the MITROS rice, launched last December, the Ogun State government has stepped up land preparation in Eggua, in the Yewa North Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun, when he visited the farm on Thursday, on an assessment tour, said several thousands of hectares of land suited for dry season rice farming are in the state.
He commended the state Ministry of Agriculture, under the leadership of Mrs. Adepeju Adebajo, for working tirelessly at ensuring the success of the rice production, saying this could only be achieved by a leadership that is hard working and passionate.
Councillor, Eggua ward in Yewa North Local Government Area, Hon. Olukokun Anthony, while speaking with newsmen, disclosed that all the bags of MITROS rice were planted, harvested, processed and bagged in Ogun State.
“I was personally on ground to monitor the local farmers during the planting and harvesting period”, he said,
According to him, 5000 hectares of land were cultivated, adding that during the dry season, there will be irrigation system on ground for crop survival.
Myke Uzendu, Abuja