Lagos– Tola Faseru, National President National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), has affirmed that with the kind of sensitisation programmes the association is exposing its farmers and members to, the Nigerian cashew has become a good brand that is respected all over the world unlike what it was in the last decades.

Faseru stated this while speaking in an exclusive interview with INDEPENDENT, stressing that the farmers are excited to produce more and to take care of what they have at various levels.

He recalled that the association had trained farmers on good agricultural practices, post harvest practices, care of farms and harvest in terms of drying process, packaging and storage.

According to him, “All of these have gone a long way to reduce wastages and to enhance the productivity.“We are also having more plantations going on and we are seeing farmers handling their farms better because they are earning a lot now and you will agree with me that we have opened a lot of markets for the Nigerian cashew and it has become a good brand that is respected all over the world unlike what it was in the last decades” he said.

Speaking further he said the association wants to see the sector contribute more that currently the country is doing less than 200,000 metric tonnes annually, but it has the capacity of doing a million tonnes.

“We are still doing less than 200,000 tonnes and we have the capacity of doing a million tonnes, Ivory Coast is doing about 700,000 tonnes, we can do it with the right impetus and the right encouragement,” he said.

On steps to take to achieve the feat, Faseru noted that the inputs are coming in, that high yield inputs and seedlings that will give double of what they use to have on their farms are been used right now, which will in turn bring about increase in production that is being expected.

“You can see the caliber of people who also have identified with the cashew industry, the Ooni of Ife has identified with the industry, key people like that are setting the pace and government has been magnanimous to make cashew one of the strategic products.

“Going forward there will be lots of interventions in terms of finance, in terms of seedlings, trainings, research and development and if we are focused, we will really move,” he added.

Also, speaking exclusively to INDEPENDENT, Anga Sotonye, National Publicity Secretary of the association said for Nigeria to gain relevance in the cashew world we really need to deliberately scale up our cashew production.

“It means we have to plant additional 53million cashew tree to make it up because we have a big local market we need to meet and we have a massive international market.

“We have to continue to serve the local market and we have to also meet global market, both have to go concurrently.

“A lot of factories have been created overseas in India, Brazil in Vietnam and these factories needs raw materials, we need to supply them and of course in Nigeria we have to help in addition to already existing cashew processing factories. We need to create newer cashew processing factories and these cashew factories will have to have enough raw materials to produce. -Independent