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FG plans to set up cashew processing plants in four states

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has revealed the Federal Government's plan to establish cashew processing plants in four states.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh (Guardian)

The minister said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

According to him, the establishment of the plants would reduce the waste of cashew fruits and delay in the export of raw nuts out of the country.

Ogbeh said that Nigeria is currently wasting an estimated 8 million tonnes of cashew fruits annually.

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“That is what the Cashew Association of West Africa told me, in Nigeria alone, that we waste eight million tonnes’’, Ogbeh said.

The minister, however, mentioned Enugu, Benue, Kogi and Oyo as the four states where the cashew processing plants would be set up.

“The challenge is usually access to credit because a good processing cashew line will cost you about two million dollars to do something like 10 to 20 tonnes a day. We are targeting that to set up at least one plant each in Enugu and Benue, two plants each in Kogi and Oyo state, these are the leading cashew producers now.

“We want to assure the cashew stakeholders that in our next level activities, we intend to stop the export of raw nuts and to process all our cashews here and we hope by the grace of God, to have one or two plants ready before next year.

“We are talking with the Brazilians now. We want to bring in machines from Brazil to process the cashew fruits into juice which has a high content of vitamin c.

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“It is very good for the health because we are currently wasting an estimated eight million tonnes of cashew fruits annually, throwing them away,” he said.

Ogbe also promised to sit down with cashew producers and farmers association later in the year to have a discussion with the CBN and get some help.

He said, “We have to find unorthodox ways of finding capital for those who want to grow these industries because on their own, it is impossible for them to meet the conditions of banks and financial institutions.

“It is impossible for them to raise the necessary capital which is why the CBN initiatives are very important to us and we have been working with them and we are achieving results.

“The treasury of Nigeria including the CBN has to find a way to by-pass the obstacles, the mountains, the rivers, blocking our way to industrial growth.

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“If not, we will remain perpetually poor and we will remain permanently incapable of creating wealth and creating jobs for our people’’.

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