Agric Ministry Signs Pact With US Agency To Unlock $10m Investment In Cashew Sector

The Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Department of Agriculture West Africa Pro-Cashew Project to develop and increase productivity in the Cashew Agro Industry.

The Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, in a statement on Sunday, stated that the initiative will improve productivity, aid the achievement of National food and nutrition security, revenue generation, exchange earnings, wealth creation and employment in the country.

The poject is capable of catalyzing up to $10m investment opportunities, create job, strengthen public and private partnership, improve trade and cashew farmers’ productivity in the value chain.

Nanono said that the initiative is in line with the government’s plan to continuously and sustainably develop the commodity for export since the 1990s.

He said, “Cashew has increased the Nigerian GDP ranking as the second Non-oil export foreign exchange earner for the country and generated about $500m for the country in 2018, providing livelihood for about 300,000 to 500,000 families mostly youths and women in Nigeria.

“Currently the National production capacity of Cashew in 2020 was 260,000MT on 100,000ha of land. Average yield was 600kg/hectare as against the global average of 1.230kg/hectare.”

He added that the initiative would help the Ministry achieve the targeted increased production capacity from 260,000MT in 2020 to 350,000MT by 2023 and processing capacity from 15 per cent in 2020 to 35 per cent by 2023.

He explained that in implementing the collaboration with USDA West Africa Pro-Cashew Project, the Ministry had constituted the Cashew Value Chain Working Committee to look into the problems and challenges affecting the growth of the Value Chain in the country.

According to him, the committee with the support of USDA West Africa Pro-Cashew Project is to develop a ten year strategic plan for Nigeria Cashew project to aid the formulation of programmes, guide interventions and woo investors to grow the value chain.

The Chief of Party/ Managing Director of the USDA West Africa Pro-Cashew Project, Jeans Francois Guay, in his remark said that the initiative would build capacity by working with farmer organization and agro- good suppliers in the areas of service delivery and business and orchard management.

According to him, the agreement would develop the agro dealers and input suppliers to improve the efficiency and suitability of seedlings production system through public private partnership.