Cashew Association raises alarm over farm gates encroachment
The National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) has re-emphasised the need by government and other stakeholders in the value chain to checkmate excesses of foreigners encroaching the country’s farm gates.
This development has not only caused distractions for local farmers, it has also led to low quality of the produce, trade distortion, reduced value at the international market and most importantly, it has lowered the purchasing power of Nigerian local middlemen and farmers.
National President of the body, Mr. Tola Faseru, who raised the alarm, underscored the importance of cashew crop as one of the National Strategic Export Products to diversify the economy from oil. He urged stakeholders to pay adequate attention to the growth and development of the crop.
“Nigeria is rated fourth largest producer of cashew nuts in Africa and seventh in the world. Today, the annual earnings from cashew has risen to $402,050,000 (N145b) and we see it growing year in year out with the private sector efforts and growing government interventions in the sector.”
According to Faseru, the cashew trade has become a global industry, which employs about 300,000 people across the country, adding that farmers and indeed every player in the value chain should be allowed to get a fair return for their efforts.
“The encroachment into the farm gate by foreigners is inimical to the value chain system and cuts off our locals from participating in the trade. Expatriates position themselves in the bushes to buy directly from farmers thereby taking away the much-needed jobs from our people.
“If our people cannot buy commodities what else can they do? The livelihood of our people should be protected. The practice of foreigners bombarding our farm gates to buy cashew should stop. The activities of these foreign nationals could also compromise the security of our dear country,” he said.
Faseru recalled huge inputs of the association and government agencies like the Nigerian Export promotion Council (NEPC), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, and Industry, trade and investment made in revitalising the sector and globally rebranding the country’s cashew to become the toast of the world from the low ebb where it was some seven years ago.
“It took us time and efforts to get here and we would not want go back to the era where we had unsold stocks and our farmers were improvised because of bad quality of the nuts, which narrowed the marketability of our crop and its attendant heavy price discount in the international market.”
Faseru announced that the body is collaborating with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), with the aim of maintaining effective surveillance, checking influx of foreign nationals, and putting a stop to their activities at farm gates across the country.
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