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Cashew farmers form association to mitigate challenges

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The Association of Cashew Farmers, Aggregators and Processors of Nigeria (ACFAPN) says it is working to promote holistic development of cashew value chain in the country.

Mr Yunusa Gabriel, the National Secretary of the newly formed association, said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lokoja on Monday.

Gabriel said the association was also working, among other things, to minimise market price disruptions caused by middlemen and also mitigate challenges affecting cashew production through collaboration with government.

He said the association had registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)  and had members drawn from 20 cashew producing states across the country.

According to him, the association will ensure improved yield and capacity of cashew farmers, development of infrastructure that support cashew value chain and diversification of cashew usage.

“It will facilitate increased value capture by local stakeholders and international players, facilitate wealth creation, socio-economic development and well being in a sustainable manner for local direct and indirect beneficiaries, particularly women and youths,’’ he said.

Gabriel said that the association would impress it on the government, through appropriate Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to consider holistic cashew development in government’s agriculture development plans.

He said this could be done through provision of incentives to cashew farmers and establishment of processing industries to shore up their income levels.

“As part of effort to improve the life of its members, the association has keyed into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Cashew Anchor Borrower Programme and has sent the first Batch of 15,000 names from 16 states to CBN for verification.

“We believe disbursement will commence soon.’’

He said cashew (Anacardium Occidentale) apples and nuts were rich in sugars and contain considerable amount of tannin and minerals, namely calcium, iron and phosphorous all of which had economic and medicinal benefits.

Gabriel said cashew has medicinal properties for curing scurvy and diarrhea as well as prevention of cholera.

He said it also has over 16 by-products including the nuts, apples, juice, kennel, oil, nut shell liquid, jam, and kuli-kuli with tremendous value chains when properly harnessed.

“In Nigeria, cashew is produced in about 20 states of the federation with Kogi State producing 70 per cent of the total production yearly,’’ he said.

He,  however, expressed regret that 60 per cent of cashew farmers in the country were small-holder farmers and faced with many challenges.

Gabriel said those challenges included inadequate finance, storage facility, technology, high cost of production and unstable market.