- Stakeholders Canvass Increased Focus on Cashew Production
Farmers and other stakeholders in the agric sector have called for more attention to the production, processing and marketing of cashew in view of its huge nutritional and economic value.
The stakeholders in separate interviews lamented the utter neglect of the product, and regretted that the few farmers engaged in it had neither been supported nor encouraged to adequately reap its vast economic potential.
For instance, the Chairman, Kogi State Chapter of Cashew Producers Association of Nigeria (CPAN), Mr. Stephen Ahiaba, lamented that about 500,000 tons of cashew apples and fruits worth N50 billion rot yearly in Kogi State.
While blaming the development on the lack of requisite technology to process juice from cashew fruits, he stressed that the situation was discouraging many farmers. He, however, expressed happiness that a local agro-products processing outfit had delved into processing cashew nuts.
Ahiaba said CPAN was into the cashew business to improve cashew value chain, adding that residues from processed cashew apples could be converted into animal feeds.
Investigations show that the crop is cultivated mostly in the eastern, western and central areas of Kogi in local governments like Dekina, Ofu, Idah, Igalamela, Omala and Yagba East.
Other local governments include Yagba West, Mopamuro, Ijumu, Kabba/Bunu, Adavi, Okehi, Okene.
A consultant with Synergos Nigeria, Mr. Solomon Yizogembi, said Kogi was can generate over 10, 000 job opportunities from investments in cashew production and processing.
He said a 150,000-tonnes investment window for cashew products was available in Kogi.