The President, Agpro International. Mr. William Loughmiller; the President, Redd Engineering, Mr. Lowry Redd; and the Chairman, R.A. Orelope Integrated Concept, Mr. Abraham Olanrewaju, have said that moringa and cashew, if properly harnessed, packaged and exported, could shore up naira’s depreciating value.
They stated that the crops are potential foreign exchange earner for the country and will also address the scarcity of foreign currencies, especially the dollar.
They added that it was also needful to assist small farmers as well as small and medium enterprises to grow for economic advancement.
They spoke on Thursday during a courtesy visit to the management of the University of Ilorin on possible agricultural partnership with the institution.
Loughmiller and Redd, who are presidents of the two US companies, said they were in Nigeria to explore the opportunities of helping farmers harness the potential of moringa and cashew; market them internationally and assist small farmers to gain new knowledge and technology, to improve their farming as well as ensure that the host communities benefit from the returns on investments.
They called for greater investment in agriculture as a strategic platform to diversify Nigeria’s economy, adding that the country should engage in the value chain of agriculture, including processing of agricultural products to secondary and tertiary products, to maximise the advantages inherent in the products.
They also said such a development would reduce capital flight, boost forex earning for the country, enhance industrialisation, create more employments, develop more businesses and increase general well-being of Nigerians.
Loughmiller said, “Agriculture, if well managed, will bring more forex to Nigeria than oil. There are tremendous resources in Nigeria that can produce 10 times as much food as is being produced now. Our goal is to ignite the fire of agricultural production and accept technologies that work for the small and large scale farmers.
“Moringa and cashew, if harnessed, have the potential to increase the value of Nigeria’s exports which has the tendency to strengthen the nation’s economy and currency.”
Reed said, “The development of agriculture can earn Nigeria a lot of forex. The development of cashew and moringa will help Nigeria appreciate its currency.”
Olanrewaju said there is a huge market for moringa and cashew in the US. He added that the two US investors were ready to package and market the products to standards that would be acceptable in the US.
He said, ”The pitiable status of naira today can be addressed with the potential in moringa and cashew. If moringa is well harnessed, processed and attended to as a miracle tree, it has the power to upgrade and lift the naira from the present falling state to a stronger currency across the globe. So also the cashew.”