The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said that cashew production, if properly harnessed, could generate about $2bn annual earning for the country ?in the next five years, just as the agency would create no fewer than 344,000 new jobs through “One State One Product Initiative’’.
Making this disclosure on Saturday in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, at the end of a three-day workshop, was Mr. George Enyiekpon, the Zonal Controller of the agency.
Tagged: “Train – The Trainer” Cashew Workshop with the objective of maximising the potentials of cashew from the farm gate to the market, the workshop was held in collaboration with the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Enyiekpon said that the workshop was aimed at educating and showcasing best practices in cashew value chain for the farmers, agricultural extension agents, processors and exporters.
His words, “Cashew is one of the 13 National products chosen by Nigeria to drive the Non-Oil export sector. Nigeria is the 6th largest producer of raw cashew nut in the world and with the product grown in almost all States in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, an increase of 20 percent from the current production figure would create more than 344,000 jobs, adding that such would also generate $75, 875,000 additional income for the nation, while stressing that “it is interesting to note that the cashew sector has the potential of earning $2billion annually in the next five years and capable of engaging the unemployed.
Lamenting that Nigeria’s cashew had attracted the lowest price in the global market, Enyiekpon blamed the trend on challenges, which included low peel ability, poor quality, lack of traceability arising from fragmented value chain and poor skills among workers in the sector.
He nevertheless said that it was his expectation that “at the end of this programme, the extension workers will step down the training across the 33 Local government areas of Oyo State. This will ensure that cashew from Oyo State will be of high quality and command premium pricing in the export market.
“NEPC desires to see cashew -clusters and centres spring up across the state and providing revenue for the state and the nation, likewise jobs for the unemployed.’’
In his remarks, Mr Gabriel Kehinde, Acting Permanent Secretary, Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, assured the participants of the state government’s readiness to collaborate at exploring the potentials in it to benefit the people.
Represented by Mr Lukman Oladapo, the Zonal Manager, OYSADEP, Ibadan/Ibarapa Zone, urged the participant to make use of the experience ?garnered at the training workshop for the development of cashew production in the State, declaring that the present administration in the state under Gov. Abiola Ajimobi was more committed to the transformation of the state through revenue generation, job creation and infrastructural development.