The Cashew Farmers, Aggregators and Processors of Nigeria (ACFAP) have called for the inclusion of Cashew in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP).
The Association said they were promoting cashew value chain development with an emphasis on value addition, job creation and a key driver of livelihood improvement.
The President of ACFAP, Engr. Unekwuojo Edime said the association would also want to partner with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the National Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC) towards the rehabilitation of existing plantation and expansion of hectare.
“As an Association, we are promoting Cashew Value Chain development with a serious emphasis on value addition, wealth and job creation as a key driver for socio-economic advancement and livelihood support in Nigeria.
ACFAP has put in place a framework to address the noticeable challenges in partnership with Government in all its Planned intervention programmes and to seek the expansion and inclusion of Cashew in the Central Bank- Anchor Borrowers Programme(CBN-ABP)”, he noted.
He said the partnership would have “effective risk mitigation strategy of NIRSAL as well as NAIC towards the rehabilitation of existing plantation and expansion of hectarage under cultivation using improved seeds/ seedlings and utilization of available road corridor for further cultivation, thus reducing the incidence of crisis associated with the land tenure system”.
He said the Association plans to also leverage on the ongoing tree planting campaign of the Federal Ministry of Environment (the Great Green wall project) to improve their contribution and increase carbon credit within the national agricultural resilience framework in Nigeria.
In a communique issued at the end of the Cashew Stakeholders/Export Summit, the Association said it is dawned on the its leadership that it should stand up and be 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 NIRSAL to encourage and jump-start the needed investment in the sector.
He said several Cashew association had been in existence in the past but suffered serious setback due to activities of middlemen who buy the raw materials from farmers at their own determined price.
“As you may be aware, several Cashew Associations had been in existence before now and some had the reputation of being around for over fifteen years in this industry but remain encumbered 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 the 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 an organized conspiracy”, Edime added.
It became clear that time has come to enable market access by all stakeholders, devoid of interferences designed to rip- off the farmers. Thus, ACFAP is poised to work with relevant government agencies such as policymakers, facilitators, investors to ensure a socially protected cashew industry that will be complementing the growth of the agricultural sector and above all, maximize the economic benefit to farmers, operators and the fiscal fortune of the country”, he added.