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Export: 50 cashew farmers trained on international best practices in Enugu

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No fewer than 50 cashew farmers in Enugu State have been trained on best international organic agricultural practice for better yield and higher export earnings.

Flagging off the two-day training on Thursday, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Matthew Idu, said that the training and partnership would ensure the future of cashew business in the state.

Idu, who was represented by Mr Eddy Ugwu, Public Relations Officer of the ministry, called youths in the state to take advantage of the current training and go back to agriculture to reap the great benefits in it.

“We have extensive virgin and arable land, which our youths can take advantage of and become big time international farmers exporting quality produce to the international market,” he said.

He noted that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had supplied the state ministry with wide range of high yield, weather-resistant and pest-resistant seedlings for variety of plants meant to make better yield, profit and conform to international standard.

Mr Benoit Sossou, a Consultant on Organic Regulation with Nicert Expert Consulting Ltd, said that one of the biggest challenges of Nigeria produce in the international market was outright rejection due to inorganic impurities.

Sossou said that there was a need for Nigerian farmers especially cashew farmers to adopt best international practices from onset of seed planting to packing of produce for export purpose.

He said: “Today, what the multi-billion naira international cashew market wants is organic cashew (100 per cent natural cashew nuts, its apple and other extracts).

“We are here to teach farmers to be careful and conscious of how they handle each stage of the production of cashew in order to ensure international standard is maintained and the farmer gets value for money.

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“After teaching on best practices on and off the farms as well as the farmers fully complied, my company – Nicert – will help the farmers get international certification for the cashew trees and their produce to ensure international acceptability, better grading and good returns on investment”.

Speaking, Mr Tochukwu Okpa, representative of Que Machano Nigeria Ltd, urged the farmers to put into practice all they have learnt in the training to better their lots.

“The training will transform Enugu State cashew farmers to international players in terms of the state’s produce hitting the international market and gaining international acceptance and recognition,” Okpa said.

Dr Uchenna Anikwe, Chairman of Udoamaka Diogbe Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Ltd, said that the training would exposure the participants on how best to handle cashew nut and other derivatives from the cashew tree.

Anikwe, who is also the traditional ruler of Diogbe Kingdom in Enugu State, said that the training would also raise the awareness of the people of the state on the global multi-billion naira business in cashew nut and other cashew tree derivatives.

‘Apart from the training, we are ready to off-take the cashew produce from the farmers since no aspect of the cashew tree is a waste especially when handled with care and international best practices.

“For the individual cashew farmers in the state, the training will expose them to best practices and give them more value for their produce as they handle it well and fit for export,” he noted.

One of the participants at the training, Mr Joyce Ugwu, said that the training had exposed her to desist from use of soap water on the cashew tree as well as store its nut in a neat and conducive place to retain its organic nature.

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The two-day training is being organised by Que-Machano Nigeria Ltd in collaboration with Valency International Agro Ltd and Udoamaka Diogbe Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Ltd.

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