Still awaiting government’s support to actualise potentials
FG’s Cashew/Cocoa Research Institute Moribund
In its effort to diversify the economy, Anambra State government said it has the potentials to produce cashew for local consumption and for export, but needs Federal Government’s support to realise the objective.
The Public Relations Officer, Anambra State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Mike Afah, disclosed that government had recently expressed interest to key into the cashew value chain program of the Federal Government and as such, the ministry has written to the FG requesting for inclusion in the project.
Afah however, explained that the cashew/cocoa research institute established by the FG at Ugbenu in Awka North local government area is now moribund.
According to him, the office is dilapidated and there is no effort to rehabilitate the building, saying that is the only federal government presence in the community.
He however, said there are individual holdings that produce cashew in small quantities, and even gather fruits from the premises of the research institute. “Many families in Anambra have cashew trees, which they tend and process individually for sale.”
In his estimation, the quantity is not enough because the demand for cashew is so high, both for domestic consumption and export, especially in the industries.
The state Ministry of agriculture is highly committed and would ensure that cashew production is revived, since Anambra has comparative advantage in the area of favourable climate, good soil and farmers who are interested in agriculture.
Afah said the state needs cashew seeds and seedlings to supply to farmers who have been coming to demand for them from the ministry, and the market gardening department in the state is readily available to multiply seedlings for distribution to the farmers.
He noted that cashew is money making produce, which provides revenue, and capable of supporting and improving the revenue base of the state and the country in general.
“Anambra needs to expand the research centre at Ugbenu, re-equip the station with processing facilities; the community is ready to provide more land and required skill and unskilled labour. In addition, the state government is ready to provide training for the farmers to improve their capacity.
“The state is appealing to the federal government for support to produce cashew trees in large quantities, by providing both the inputs, facilities and equipment for processing the cashew nuts,” he noted.
He said the importance of cashew trees can not be far-fetched because they help to check erosion and flood in the state, adding that over 20 per cent of the state land mass is threatened by erosion.