By Chinyere Anyanwu


The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), an agency of the Federal Government, has embarked on training for cashew farmers in Imo State to ensure that the country produces more of the commodity for local consumption and exports, thereby, increasing both domestic and foreign exchange earnings.

The agency, at the weekend, organised an intensive training for 100 cashew farmers in the state, being one of the cashew producing states, which accounts for over 1,000 metric tonnes of the produce annually and has also helped the country in achieving N41.27 billion annual revenue on cashew produce exports.

The programme, which took place at NEPC’s office in Owerri, Imo State capital, was aimed at preparing cashew farmers on proper commercial production and processing for the purpose of export with a view to earning greater foreign exchange and revenue locally.

Speaking at the one-day quality improvement sensitisation programme held for  stakeholders in Owerri on cashew value chain development, the Executive Director of NEPC, Nonye Ayeni, said the training was necessary to consolidate efforts so far made in cashew production, processing and export.

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Ayeni, who was represented by the NEPC coordinator in Imo and national team lead on cashew, Anthony Ajuruchi, said that Nigeria being the fourth in the world and Africa’s highest producer of cashew should maintain its lead.

Emphasising NEPC’s mantra on cashew production and exports, which is tagged, “Doubling Our Exports for Economic Growth and Job Creation”, Ayeni said, “cashew holds a huge foreign exchange potential for Nigeria and we cannot afford not to double our efforts, and as the highest producer of cashew in Africa, we have the potential for unparalleled greatness and we must harness it, hence this workshop.”

Ayeni, however, said that NEPC might consider supply of improved seedlings to committed farmers in Imo as an incentive to encourage cashew farming, adding that multinational organisations such as the African Alliance and GIZ are prepared for holistic partnerships with Nigerian farmers on processing to enable them meet increasing demand.

Also speaking, the pioneer president, National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) and member, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the association, Sunday Uzoechi, urged government at all levels to prioritise non-oil exports to revive the economy.

He also urged farmers, marketers and processors of cashew to recommit to its production for best results.

Chairman of NCAN in Imo, Simon Ezikeiheoma, said that a large production of cashew was ongoing in Okigwe, Okwudor and Awomamma areas of Imo State where there are large clusters, producing annually over 1000 metric tonnes of cashew.