The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of the federal government with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) West Africa PRO-Cashew Project to increase cashew production in Nigeria.
The project is expected to gulp up to $10 million investment opportunities, create jobs, strength public and private partnership, improve trade as well as cashew farmers’ productivity in the value chain.
It will also help improve production capacity from 260,000 Metric tonnes in 2020, to 350,000 metric tonnes by 2023, and processing capacity from 15 per cent in 2020 to 35 per cent by 2023.
The minister said the project will help expand the national hectareage of the crop and achieve national food and nutrition security. He further listed other benefits to include, revenue generation, foreign exchange earnings and wealth creation for the economy.
He said the federal government’s focus was to continuously and sustainably develop the commodity for export, adding that since the 1990s, cashew had increased the Nigeria’s GDP ranking as the second non-oil export foreign exchange earner.
He said the commodity generated about $500 million for the country in 2018, providing livelihood for about 300,000 to 500,000 families mostly youths and women in Nigeria.
Speaking in Abuja during the signing ceremony and interactive session with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) West Africa PRO-Cashew Project, Nanono, he emphasised the need for the USDA West Africa and other stakeholders to achieve set objectives as this would help the country formulate the right programmes, guide future interventions and woo investors to grow the value chain.