Nigeria plans to set up cashew processing plants in four states to add value to the produce and create employment and wealth.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said in Abuja that the project would reduce the waste of cashew fruits and delay in the export of raw nuts.
According to him, we are currently wasting an estimated 8 million tonnes of cashew fruits annually.
He said the long term solution to the delay in export and stocking of cashew nuts at the ports is for Nigeria to be exporter of finished products and not raw materials.
Ogbeh listed the states where the plants would be set up to include Enugu, Benue, Kogi and Oyo.
He said that the challenge was usually access to credit because a good processing cashew line cost about two million dollars.
The government, he said, was talking with the Brazilians now in order to bring in machines from Brazil to process the cashew fruits into juice which has a high content of vitamin c.
“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.
“That is what the Cashew Association of West Africa told me, in Nigeria alone, that we waste eight million tonnes.
“This is our concern, we are very troubled with this development but later in the year, I will have meeting with the cashew producers and farmers association to sit down with the CBN and get some help.’’
The minister, who lamented that the country has been major importers of goods and services, said government is determined to changing the trend.
“The challenge facing Nigeria is that we have been an importer nation which has destroyed our economy. We want to change now and become a nation of exporters.
“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.
“If not, we will remain perpetually poor and we will remain permanently incapable of creating wealth and creating jobs for our people,’’ he said.