We are working to export cashew nuts directly from the South East – NEPC
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said it is making efforts to export cashews directly from the southeast, in line with the federal government’s policy on diversification.
The council’s executive director, Olusegun Awolowo, told Enugu on Thursday at a workshop organized by the council for cashew value chain stakeholders.
Mr. Awolowo was represented by the Council’s Southeast Regional Coordinator, Arnold Jackson.
He said the NEPC had developed what he called the “Zero Oil Plan”, an initiative to increase foreign exchange earnings through the non-oil export sector.
He said the initiative set a long-term goal of earning 20 percent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product from non-oil exports.
“The initial goal is to exceed $ 30 billion in non-oil exports over the next 10 years, add an additional $ 150 billion to Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves and take at least 20 million Nigerians out of the country. poverty, ”he said.
Mr. Awolowo said the council also has the “One State, One Product” program, which was developed to ensure that each state is focused on at least one product to be developed for export.
He said that under the program, Enugu State indicated cashew and palm oil as its main and alternative products.
The NEPC boss said cashew remains an important agricultural product in the state.
“So we need the collaboration of the state government and other stakeholders to develop exportable products from cashews,” he said.
He said cashew has the potential to significantly affect Nigeria’s currencies.
According to him, the country is the second largest producer of nuts with an annual production of 350,000 metric tons.
“We have a long way to go to be able to meet local demands and export,” Awolowo said.
He called for the establishment of a collection center in the area, where cashews could be graded and checked for quality assurance.
“Quality issues need to be resolved because what sells products is quality assurance,” he said.
In a conference, the national auditor of the Cashew Producers Association of Nigeria, Ferdinand Eze, said that Enugu produces 20,000 metric tons of cashews per year.
Mr Eze said the figure was far from the state’s capacity, given the huge cashew investment made in the region by the former Prime Minister of the Old Eastern Region, the late Michael Okpara.
He said most of the cashew trees were over 40 years old and had grown old, hence the need to plant new ones.
Meanwhile, in a goodwill message, Enugu State Commissioner for Agriculture Mathew Idu said the state has a comparative and competitive advantage in cashew production over other cash crops.
Mr. Idu, however, said the state’s cashew producers have yet to reach their optimum cashew production potential.
He assured that the State government would help farmers and others along the value chain.
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