Seek inclusion in CBN’s Anchor Borrowers scheme
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Cashew farmers under the auspices of the Association of Cashew Farmers, Aggregators and Processors of Nigeria, ACFAP, Thursday, raised alarm over an illegal shipment of cashew from Nigeria to other neighbouring countries.
This was contained in a report titled, ‘Executive Report of Cashew Stakeholders/Exporter Summit’ presented by the National President, ACFAP, Engr Unekwuojo Edime, at a press conference held in Abuja, with the theme, ‘Revamping the Cashew Industry in Nigeria, the Issues and Way Forward’.
According to Edime the cashew industry has a grave challenge of a domestic conspiracy by some persons who interlope with middlemen who are the frustrating effort of cashew farmers in the country with their sabotaging activities.
He said: “The association having realized that the present administration is committed to diversifying the economy and that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, had shown enormous commitment alongside the Minister of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammed Sabo Nanono and his counterpart, the Minister of State, Alhaji Shehuri Mustapha, and propelled by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mu’azu Abdukadir, the direction of the Ministry is no doubt.
“It is instructive to note that at various for a, the rule of the agricultural sector holds the key to the non-oil sector (Zero oil initiative) with respect to food security, job creation, poverty alleviation and promotion of local or domestic enterprises.
“Several cash associations had been in existence before now and some had the reputation of being around for over 15 years in this industry but remained cumbered by domestic conspiracy facilitated by those interloping middlemen that buy raw cashew-nut from farmers at their own determined prices.
“This trend must be checked in the interest of transparency and the relevant executive orders in place by government in order to restore hope to our rural dwellers, the vulnerable groups and most especially those whose only hope is hopelessness as a result of organised conspiracy.
“Nigeria continues to lose its pride of place in cashew trade in the world owing to the fact that some cashew merchants aggregate product, ship them through neighbouring countries without the relevant tag of the country of origin (Nigeria). the consequence of this is that so many of our cashew-nut end up in other countries who now take the glory as being better producers than Nigeria which should have taken the credit.”
He also stated that the association has resolved that appropriate steps will be taken to stop the trend, “We have resolved that never again, shall we go this way. As we are more determined to create the desired interaction, awareness and show leadership in driving the aspiration of producers having in mind that our investors shall respect the feelings of a free trade market-driven economy in cashew trade without exception or pre-qualification.”
The cashew farmers’ boss also said the association will no longer sit and watch as government interventions are rolled out along various value chains, as it seeks inclusion in Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
“To this end, it downed on the leadership of ACFAP that is should stand up and prepared to take the bull by the horn at this time in order to leverage on all available interventions in the agricultural sector towards promoting wealth creation and the socio-economic livelihood and well-being of members by networking and insisting on expansion of the Anchor Borrowers Scheme of the CBN with effective risk guarantee by the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agriculture Lending, NIRSAL, to encourage and jump-start the needed investment in the sector”, he stated.