The Ogun State Government has tasked cashew farmers in the state, to consider processing their produce before exportation through the agricultural value chain.
Stating this was the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Lydia Fajounbo, while speaking during a two-day Export Workshop and Stakeholders’ Forum on cashew processing in Ogun State, with the theme, “Increasing the Gains of Non-oil Exports”, organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Abeokuta Smart Office.
Represented by the Director of Commerce, Mr. Opaleye Ariyibi, Fajounbo said cashew farmers in the State would make more profit by processing their produce before exportation, to reduce wastage, stressing that farmers had been cheating themselves by exporting their cashew raw.
She noted that government would not rest on its oars at promoting commercial agricultural commercialization and exportation, as cashew was one of the State agricultural produce, urging youths in the State to take advantage of the Anchor Borrowers’ scheme, which provides opportunity for 40,000 farmers, with single digit loan.
The Permanent Secretary described the workshop as apt, considering the need for the diversification of the country’s economy from oil to exportation of agricultural produce and other non-oil products, while admonishing NEPC not to relent in carrying out its mandate of promoting, encouraging and supporting stakeholders in diversifying the Nigerian economy.
In her submission, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Abosede Ogunleye, represented by the Deputy Director, Department of Tree Crops and Rural Development Service, Mr. Olukayode Adebimpe, said cashew farmers in the State need to explore various options available through cashew processing, saying this would create more wealth for them.
In his keynote address, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, NEPC, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, said the objective of the workshop was to inculcate in the farmers, best agricultural practices, increase yield per acre through introduction of improved seedlings, address post-harvest handling and reduce incidence of wastages occasioned by improper preservation of farm produce, among others.
Awolowo, represented by the Regional Co-ordinator, NEPC, South West, Lagos, Mr. Samuel Oyeyipo said, ‘’export earnings from cashew nuts have witnessed a steady increase over a three year period, rising from a total value of $152,000,000 in 2015, to $259,000,000 in 2016 and $402,050,000 in 2017”.