From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, has disclosed that the country generated over $500 million and provided livelihood for between 300,000 to 500,000 families, mostly youth and women.
Nanono disclosed this at the weekend after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) West Africa PRO-Cashew Project to develop cashew agro industry.
According to him, the initiative will improve productivity, expand the national hectareage of the crop and most importantly achieve national food and nutrition security, revenue generation, exchange earnings, wealth creation and employment.
Nanono said that government would continue to develop the commodity for export, adding that since the 1990s, cashew has increased the Nigerian GDP ranking as the second non-oil export foreign exchange earner for the country.
“The commodity has generated about $500 million for the country in 2018, providing livelihood for between 300,000 to 500,000 families mostly youth and women in Nigeria. “The national production capacity of cashew in 2020 was 260,000MT on 100,000ha of land. Average yield was 600kg/ha as against the global average of 1.230kg/ha,” he said
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project, Jeans Francois Guay, explained that the project will last for five years and will be implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). “The project will generate up to $10 million investment opportunities, create jobs, strengthen public and private partnership, improve trade and cashew farmers’ productivity in the value chain.
“The USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project, CNFA will build capacity by working with farmer organisation and agro- good suppliers in the areas of service delivery and business and orchard management,” Guay said.