By Michael Eboh & Jacob Isaac
National Cashew Association of Nigeria, NCAN, has warned that unless something urgent was done to address the leadership crisis rocking the association, the Federal Government’s $7 billion cashew export target annually would be derailed.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Vice President of NCAN, East Zone, comprising cashew-producing states in the South-East and South-South states, Mr. Chuks Nkanele, declared that currently, there was a huge demand for cashew from Nigeria, but lamented that the country was struggling to meet up with less than one per cent of the demand.
He also warned that unless something was done urgently to curb the activities of foreign produce buyers that had invaded the country, Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings from cashew export would be completely eroded.
He said it was the duty of the government and the national leadership of NCAN to address the threat to the industry, but the present leadership of the association has failed to rise up to the challenges and is instead concerned about perpetuating themselves in power.
He disclosed that cashew was a major foreign exchange earner for the country, and the Federal Government, in realisation of that fact, had agreed to set up six cashew processing plants across the country.
He, however, noted that initiative of the Federal Government is currently under threat over NCAN’s crisis as the current leadership of the association has refused to step down after the expiration of their tenure, thereby usurping the group’s constitution.
He explained that in 2010, Nigeria was ranked by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, as the number one cashew producer in the world, but as at 2017, Nigeria has dropped to the sixth position.