The National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), on Tuesday, urged the federal government to prevent foreigners from going directly to farmers to buy cashews.
The national president of the association, Ojo Ajanaku, who gave the advice in a keynote address he delivered during a one-day stakeholders’ consultative meeting in Lagos, said the advice became necessary because the practice had led to premature harvest of the crop.
He said that the premature harvest of the crop and direct purchase of the same by foreigners were detrimental to the development of the cashew value chain.
Mr Ajanaku acknowledged the outstanding position of cashews as one of the national strategic export products in Nigeria, saying adequate measures are being put in place to ensure quality control at the farm gate.
He stressed the need for synergy along the cashew value chain in order to ensure increased production of the crop in Nigeria.
“When our investors go directly to our farm gates, there is an interference leading to a crash in the business and the reduction of the purchasing power of Nigerian local middlemen and farmers.
“This not only causes distractions for local farmers, it has also led to low quality of the produce, trade distortions, reduced value of the crop at the international market, and in the long run, putting the farmer at a disadvantage.
“The cashew business has been bastardised these days. Farmers are no longer patient.
“They don’t want to wait for the crop to fall off its tree when it becomes ripe. They are in a hurry to sell to foreign buyers.
“What legacy are we then leaving for the future generations?” he said.
Also speaking during the meeting, the managing director of Starlink Global, Murtala Adeniji, said that the cashew business “is capable of generating 15 billion dollars for the country annually and can create jobs.
“The investors should have their warehouses in Lagos. They can trust us and give us the money to deal for them.
“One of the ways the cashew business in Nigeria can grow tremendously is by backward integration,” he said.
He encouraged cashew farmers to see the cultivation of the crop as a viable job opportunity for youths as it can attract huge foreign exchange for the country