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Farmers seek better deal as cashew industry births in Kwara

Farmers in Kwara State have called for more synergy between processing industries and farmers to boost cashew business. The call is coming on the heels…

Farmers in Kwara State have called for more synergy between processing industries and farmers to boost cashew business.

The call is coming on the heels of the commencement of operation of a newly established multimillion naira cashew processing plant, Annie Glidden Commodities (AG) Nigeria Limited, located at Eiyenkorin, Kwara State.

The state chairman of the Cashew Growers Association of Nigeria, Alabi Tunde, while describing the addition as “a welcome development that will further boost the production and processing of cashew in the state,” called on the new owners to “cooperate with all stakeholders in the value chain and properly scrutinise where they get their seed.

“This is because cashew seeds have varieties,” he explained.

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Another cashew farmer, Jamiu Abdullateef, said their coming would boost cashew production in the state.

“This will add value to cashew production in Kwara State and give employment opportunities, depending on their capacity. This latest addition has brought the number of cashew processing factories in the state to about four with Olam in Asa, Triple K in Oyun, Adeshina in Offa and Food Pro.

“Our advice is that their coming should not be to trouble cashew farmers in the state but assist them and improve the trade. We will like to follow the template they met on ground that properly separates processors, merchants and licensing buying agents so that there will not be friction or tension,” he noted.

During a visit to the factory, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq said his administration’s agenda, among other things, was to make Kwara a hub for cashew nuts processing in Nigeria.

“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 nuts. This investment is a major one, being about the third major cashew company in the state.

“It is logical and will be more lucrative to have cashew nuts processed locally for export than to ferry out the raw nuts,” he said, adding that the state government would leave no stone unturned to encourage all cashew processing companies in the state to thrive.

AbdulRazaq acknowledged the commitment of AG Commodities to grow the local economy through their investment, and congratulated them on the start of operation, adding that the administration is open for partnership.

The managing director of AG Commodities, AdemolaAdesokan, said they located the company in Kwara because of its strategic location in the cashew belt.

He said that at least 120 Kwarans had 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. It is very manual-intensive. Even after we must have processed with our automated processing machines, we still have to deal with about 25 per cent 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 people working here every day.

“We have ready-made markets in the United States and United Kingdom. We also have a local line that will be in stock very shortly,” he added.

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