Cashew production still very low
• Emphasis More On Rice
Cashew, though not majorly cultivated in Ebonyi State, it is consumed by many.
Check by The Guardian revealed that almost all households consume cashew, yet there is no cashew farm in the state, apart from those planted in neighbourhoods, sometimes to beautify their environment. What is planted is thus not for commercial purpose, but for consumption.
Those who deal in cashew product find it difficult to operate fully because they bring the commodity from other states, thereby making the price a bit high. A bottle of prepared cashew nut goes for between N2, 000 and N2, 500.
A trader Mrs. Ngozi Onuma, attributed the high cost to the difficulties in getting the product from other states, coupled with the high cost of transportation, adding that the price would have been cheaper if cashew is grown in the state.
A farmer who identified himself as Chidi Nwaiboko, said cashew cultivation is not popular in the state, because farmers see it as long term crop, since it will take up to several months or years before the first harvest.
According to him, rice, maize, cassava are most popular crops cultivated, adding that most of the tree crops or fruits like cashew, mango, pawpaw, orange, palm and guava grown in the state, are mostly for consumption and at times very little for commercial purposes.
Another farmer, Mr. Chukwu Ude, who blamed the situation on government’s neglect, wondered why cashew, one of the essential cash crops that provide foreign exchange is popularised, stressing that if attention is paid to cashew plantation, it will not only provide job opportunities, but also generate revenue for government.
He said; “We have virgin land in this state that has not been used over the years, such land can be devoted to cashew production, cashew nuts is an export commodity, which I know provides both employment and revenue for the people and government.
Speaking on the development, the state commissioner of Agriculture, Barr. Uchenna Orji said though cashew production is essential, “but right now the state is focusing more on rice production.”
He noted that apart from rice production the ministry is also cultivating maize and cassava, adding that every essential material needed by farmers for the programme to succeed have been provided.