The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to collaborate with stakeholders in the Cashew Value chain towards enhancing the quality seedlings and increasing production and income generation.
The Minister stated this recently during a courtesy visit by African Cashew Alliance (ACA) led by its President, Otunba Babatola Faseru, in his office, in Abuja.
The Information officer II, Mohammed Abdullahi Gana in a statement on Tuesday said the minister revealed that “the focus of the present administration is the growth of the agricultural sector and once that is achieved, we have set a base for economic growth”.
Dr. Abubakar disclosed that “every single value chain in the agricultural sector is important and if they come together, they would make a big difference, in the area of Food and Nutrition Security’’.
The Minister further said that the Ministry would continue to support Cashew Value Chain, pointing out that, the Ministry had trained smallholder farmers on Cashew Production, Processing, and Packaging of the Product.
He added that cashew had become a national commodity that grows across the 36 States of the Federation, pointing out that cocoa was second in terms of foreign exchange earnings to the economy.
The Minister commended the Association for their efforts towards planning of the 1st ACA conference in Abuja, adding that it would improve the value chain and attract investors.
Dr. Abubakar also assured the association that “the Ministry will be involved to make the forthcoming event a great success”.
Earlier, the President of African Cashew Alliance, Otunba Babatola Faseru stated that ACA is a non-governmental organization created in 2005 with the mandate of promoting a global competitive African Cashew industry that would benefit the entire value chain from farmers to consumers, adding that Africa was losing over 2000 jobs.
He noted that Cashew could provide over 1000 jobs in Nigeria.
“Jigawa and Kebbi States are doing well in Cashew production,” Otunba Faseru added.
He, therefore, solicited the support of the Ministry to move the Cashew sub-sector forward.
In his remarks, the President Cashew Association of Nigeria, Hon. Ojo Ajanaku thanked the Minister for his support, noting that Nigeria had about 600, 000 surviving cashew trees spread across the country.
He maintained that currently 75% to 80% of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria are exported, as only very few companies are involved in the local processing of the produce.
The President, therefore revealed that, cashew can grow in any part of the country adding that 60% of the world cashew growth is from Africa.