Mr Stephen Ahiaba, Chairman, Kogi Chapter of Cashew Producers Association of Nigeria, on Friday said that about 500,000 tonnes of cashew apples and fruits, worth N50 billion, rot annually in Kogi. Ahiaba told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja that the waste could be attributed to the non-availability of the requisite technology to process juice from cashew fruits. About 500,000 metric tons of cashew apples rot away in farms in Kogi State due to lack of technology until an indigenous agro-products processing outfit decided to delve into it.
The company imported the technology for cashew juice processing into Nigeria for the first time. The processing factory, sited in Egume, Dekina Local Government of Kogi State, was set up in partnership with an international agro-based NGO, Techno-Serve, which is based in Washington DC., to process the juice for consumption. “The juice, branded `Relish Natural Juice’ is 100-per-cent cashew juice without any water or additives. What they only do is purification and standard packaging with a two-year shelf life,” he said. Ahiaba said that the organisation was into the cashew business to improve cashew value chain, adding that residues from processed cashew apples could be converted into animal feeds. “In collaboration with the state government, the industry embarked on cashew inspection and grading for global standardisation. In 2014, a bag of cashew nuts cost N7, 000 but in 2017, it now costs N50, 000. “I want to urge the Kogi State Government to accord the cashew industry its deserved attention, as the state stands to benefit a lot if the necessary attention for cashew is created. “Part of the vision is to enable rural farmers borrow ideas from our physical, good agro-practices, as we have introduced cashew enhancement projects to develop cashew value chain,” he said.