Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has commissioned a new cashew processing facility belonging to Farmforte Agro & Allied Solutions Limited, in Benin City, the state capital.
The facility, which was commissioned at the weekend in the presence of Senator Matthew Urhoghide and other distinguished guests, was a major milestone in Farmforte’s commitment to consistently ensure market access for over 112,000 smallholder farmers within the agriculture value chain.
The processing facility is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery that has a production capacity of 24MT per day that will provide jobs and enterprise opportunities for the youths and people of Edo State.
Governor Obaseki stated that, “the government will continue to support the private sector to enable them create more job opportunities, expand into new markets and reduce risk. With this new facility, Farmforte is adding value and encouraging farmers to increase the harvesting of cashew nuts and fruits, enabling Edo State to become the number one cashew producer in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the acquisition, Farmforte’s co-chief executive officer, Osazuwa Osayi, said: “This new processing facility is in line with our long term commitment to continuously create sustainable outcomes in the agri-value chain. We believe that this facility will enable us to increase cashew nut processing capacity and export less raw commodity; thereby increasing Nigeria’s access to the global market.”
Despite being one of the largest producers of the crop, Nigeria is yet to tap into the economic value that can be derived from locally processed cashew nuts. Currently, raw cashews are being exported and processed into cashew nuts by foreign countries then sold to Europe and back to Nigeria. This is an economic challenge Farmforte is working towards change.
Also, the co-chief executive officer of Farmforte, Uyi Osayimwense, reiterated that quality is a major factor in their operations.
“At Farmforte, we are reinventing Nigeria’s cashew industry by investing in a state-of-the-art processing plant that can process large amounts of cashew at export standard.
“Presently, we source raw cashew from local smallholder farmers and make sure Kernel out-turn ratio (KOR) is 49 and upwards to ensure maximum quality,” he said.
He added that the facility includes machines that will carry out various processes from cleaning of raw cashew nuts to the packaging of edible cashew nuts (kernels).
“Moreover, in our efforts to be a zero-waste company, we are setting up a Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL) processing facility. CNSL is a versatile raw material for the production of paints and varnishes, laminating resins, rubber compounding resins and cashew cements,” Osayimwense stated.