The Association of Cashew Farmers, Aggregators and Processors of Nigeria (ACFAP) has said it is prepared to take advantage of the commitment of the present administration to the development of agriculture to make cashew a major cash crop in Nigeria.
President of the association, Engr Unekwuojo Augustine Edime who stated this yesterday in Abuja while presenting the communique of the recent national cashew summit of the association held in Abuja, said the leadership of ACFAP would stop at nothing to ensure its members derive the maximum benefits from their labour.
He said ACFAP was now prepared to take the bull by the horn and leverage on the available interventions in the agricultural sector to promote wealth creation and the socio-economic well-being of the members as that is the only way to make cashew a major cash crop in Nigeria.
According to him, “As you may be aware, several cashew associations had been in existence before now but had remained encumbered by domestic conspiracy, facilitated by those interloping middlemen that buy raw cashew nuts 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.”
While thanking the various groups that supported the summit especially Tak Integrated, LEADERSHIP Group Limited, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development among others, Edime said time has come to open a market access by all stakeholders devoid of interferences designed to rip-off the farmers.
“ACFAP is poised to work with relevant government agencies as well as investors to ensure a socially protected cashew industry that will be complementing the growth of the agricultural sector and above all maximise economic benefit to farmers,” he said.
“We hereby resolve that never again shall we go this way. We are now more determined to create the desired interaction and awareness, and show leadership in driving the aspiration of producers having in mind that our investors shall respect the feeling of a free market driven economy in cashew trade without exception or pre-qualification.”
Among the communique adopted at the end of the summit as read out by the president include, Farmers/processors/aggregator must take up insurance cover to guard against any unforeseen circumstances; Farmers/processors should get special intervention funds from the Central Bank; Government must become actively interested in the promotion of cashew as a cash crop; Whatever mutual suspicion between farmers and merchants must be resolved; Farmers must ensure that the quality of the cashew nuts is of international standards to derive the maximum value, among others.