Posted by News Express | 15 February 2021 | 520 times
BY JOHN NWOKOCHA, Abuja
A major decision to boost the value chain of cashew was taken weekend in Abuja, when the federal government through the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji. Muhammad Sabo Nanono and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) West Africa PRO-Cashew Project signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the Cashew Agro Industry.
Nanono after signing the MoU stated that the initiative will improve productivity, expand the National Hectareage of the crop adding that most importantly it will achieve national food and nutrition security, revenue generation, exchange earnings, wealth creation and employment in the country.
Nanono disclosed during an interactive session with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) , that government’s focus is to continuously and sustainably develop the commodity for export because since the 1990s, cashew has increased the Nigerian GDP ranking as the 2nd Non-oil export foreign exchange earner for the country and generated about $500Million for the country in 2018, providing livelihood for about 300,000 to 500,000 families mostly youths and women in Nigeria”.
According to Nanono “currently the National production capacity of Cashew in 2020 was 260,000MT on 100,000ha of land. Average yield was 600kg/ha as against the global average of 1.230kg/ha”. He added that the initiative would help the Ministry achieve the targeted increased production capacity from 260,000MT in 2020 to 350,000MT by 2023 and processing capacity from 15% in 2020 to 35% by 2023.
In order to kick start the collaboration with USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew project, the Minister constituted the Cashew Value Chain Working Committee to look into the problems and challenges affecting the growth of the Value Chain in the country. According to him, the committee with the support of USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project is to develop a 10-Year Strategic Plan for Nigeria Cashew project.
Members of committee include the various stakeholders in the Cashew Value Chain chaired by Mr. Roland Oroh, Managing Director, the Nigeria Agribusiness Registrar and Mrs Karima Babangida, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA).
He emphasized the need for the USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project and other stakeholders to achieve the above objectives as it would help the country formulate the right programmes, guide future interventions and woo investors to grow the value chain.
In his presentation, the Chief of Party/ Managing Director of the USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project, Mr. Jeans Francois Guay, informed that the project is a five years West Africa Cashew project (PRO-Cashew), Implemented by cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international development organization headquartered in Washington, DC. He added that through the USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project, CNFA will: build capacity by working with Farmer organization and agro- good suppliers in the areas of service delivery and business and orchard management.
Develop an agro dealers and input suppliers to improve the efficiency and suitability of seedlings production system through public private partnership.
He explained that the project is capable to catalyze up to $10 million investment opportunities, create job, strength public and private partnership, improve trade and cashew farmers' productivity in the value chain.
In her remarks, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA), Mrs Karima Babangida thanked USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project its intervention strategies to improve the Cashew sector in Nigeria and the West Africa Sub region. She also informed that Nigeria has been selected alongside Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d' lvoire for the project."
Other stakeholders present at the event include; Dr.Adeola Patrick, the Executive Director Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Mr Bishnu Pattanaik of Huxley, Mr Olu Adeyemi, (Manager West Africa, GrainPro Inc.) and Hon. Ojo Ajanaku, President of National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN).
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