Governor Abdulrazaq excited as new cashew firm begins operation in Kwara
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Monday said the administration is committed to making the business climate more friendly for investments, commending the establishment of a new multimillion naira cashew processing factory in the state.
AbdulRazaq said the agenda, among other things, is to make Kwara a hub for cashew nuts processing in Nigeria.
The Governor was speaking in Ilorin, the capital city, during a working visit to the Annie Glidden Commodities (AG) Nig. Ltd at Eiyenkorin, a newly established cashew processing plant in the state.
“My coming here is to encourage local investment. As you know, Kwara is a major producer of cashew nuts, and Nigeria is putting more interest in cashew processing. So it is a good thing to have a local production and make sure we export processed cashew nuts, rather than raw cashew nuts. So this investment is a major one. I think this is about the third major cashew company in the state,” he told reporters shortly after touring the facility.
According to a news release made available to The Guardian by Rafiu Ajakaye, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, AbdulRazaq said it is logical and will be more lucrative to have the cashew nuts processed locally for export than to ferry out the raw nuts, adding that the government will leave no stone unturned to encourage all cashew processing companies in the state to thrive.
AbdulRazaq acknowledged the commitment of AG Commodities Nig Ltd to grow the local economy through their investment, and congratulated them on the start of operation, saying the administration is open for partnership.
“Our vision is to have Kwara as the leading processor of cashew in Nigeria. So this is another step to come here and look at their investment and encourage the company, and to also see how the state can partner with the company to scale up the processes,” he added.
Managing Director AG Commodities Nig Ltd, Ademola Adesokan, for his part, said they located the company in Kwara because of its strategic location in the cashew belt, its good road network, as well as the business friendly policies of the government.
He said at least 120 Kwarans have been engaged in the company for manual handling of the cashew nuts daily.
“With the road network, we feel like Kwara state is a very strategic position to site our company. It is in the middle of Kogi, Ogbomosho, and Kwara region. You can see we are on Ogbomoso road, which is a very strategic place and good for our business. So we are happy to be here and we thank the Governor for this visit,” he said.
“It is very manual intensive. Even after we must have processed with our automated processing machines, we still have to deal with about 25 percent of the cashew nuts manually. Every single cashew nut has to be held by hand. A lot of the time we have 120 to 130 working here everyday.
“We have ready-made markets in the US and UK. We also have a local line that will be in stock very shortly.”
The Governor has said Kwara will focus on agroprocessing as a strategic roadmap to economic growth and prosperity. The government itself had approved the establishment of a shea butter processing firm in Kaiama local government area in the northern part of the state.