The Federal government has said in order to add value and create employment, plans are in place to set up cashew processing plants in four states of the federation.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe revealed this while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria.
He said further the new plan will reduce wastage of cashew fruits and solve delay problem in exports of raw nuts out of the country.
“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.
“We are currently wasting an estimated eight million tonnes of cashew fruits annually, throwing them away. That is what the Cashew Association of West Africa told me.
“This is our concern, we are very troubled with this development but later in the year, I will have a 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 the 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.