By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
As part of efforts to boost the processing and exportation of cashew nut, Ogun State Government has resuscitated the cashew processing plant at Imasayi.
The state partners an indigenous Agro-allied processing company, J22 Concerns Limited.
Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Kikelomo Longe, while presenting a “Letter of Award to the Chief Executive Officer” of the company, Mr. Yinka Akintola, at the Palace of the Olu of Imasayi, Yewa North Local Government Area of the State, said the move was to tap full economic benefits of the crop.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Olu. Ola Aikulola, Longe said the present administration decided to operationalise the plant, which has been moribund since 2018, noting that the collaboration would enhance the socio-economic growth of the State.
She called on relevant stakeholders and the people of Imasayi to support the investor, by boosting the produce value-chain and expand production, adding that it would bring about job opportunities capable of improving the standard of living.
“We should team up with the investor to ensure the best use of this cashew processing plant. We want a situation whereby the cashew nuts grown in Imasayi will be processed in the town.
“This will boost the cashew value-chain and bring about development to the State, create job opportunities and lead to improvement in the people’s standard of living”, he said.
The Commissioner assured that the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration remained committed to make the State investors’ preferred choice of destination, as well as promoting the Public-Private Partnership policy, which would lead to the progress of the agricultural sector.
Also speaking, the Trade Promotion Advisor/Head, Abeokuta Smart Office, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Samson Idowu said only 10 percent of the 240 metric tonnes of cashew nuts grown in Nigeria is processed.
Idowu said the drive to diversify the economy from its dependence on oil through increased cashew nut processing and exportation, necessitated the decision of the Council to donate processing machine to the State in 2018, and trained the farmers on latest techniques in cashew nut processing, adding that increased processing of the cash crop has the potential of making the Gateway State an export hub.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, J22 Concerns Limited, Mr. Akintola said the company intends to process 500 kilograms of cashew nuts daily, noting that the utilisation of the machine would create employment opportunities for indigenes of the area and improve human capital development.
He added that his company would also help cashew farmers in Imasayi and its environs expand their acreage of plantation and yield, as well as help position farmers in groups, in order to access more funding for their businesses.