A cashew nut processing expert, Pankaj Chawla, says aging trees remain the major challenge of cashew nut business whether for local consumption and export purposes in Nigeria.
Chawla, who is the Country Representative of Valency International Agro Ltd, said this on Wednesday in a training for Wild Organic Cashew Nuts Farmers/Producers and Marketers in Enugu State for Export Intentions.
He noted that most cashew trees in the country are between 30 and 40 years old, adding that most of them had been caught up with aging attributes and signs.
According to him, today the yield of the cashew tree keeps decreasing, the quality and size of fruits and nuts keeps shrinking and pests easily attack them due to aging attributes.
“There is a need to begin new and fresh cashew plantations to replace all the aging cashew trees even as the cashew business is becoming a big time local and export business.
“We have improved and high-yield cashew seedling that only takes 18 months for maturity and it starts producing fruits and cashew nuts as well.
“The people or communities that have these aging cashew plants can replace them with the improved and high-yield seedlings.
“While those other communities or individuals that want to come into the business can also cultivate this improved and high-yield cashew seedlings as well,” he said.
Chawla also stressed the need for cashew farming to be done in an organic form devoid of chemicals, additive and impurity inputs.
This he said would make for cashew produce (both nut, apple and other extractive) to be fit for human consumption/use and get international trade certification easily.
“Cashew business is a big and serious business, which requires that the farmer or those that tend the trees to ensure best practice.
“They must be careful in activities going on in the cashew plantations or trees in order to ensure that the cashew produce is not contaminated and made unfit for international export,” he said.
The country representative said that the company is in Nigeria to ensure continuous training for farmers to get the right planting system and right international result and certification.
“Valency International is ready to organise continuous training inside the field (farms) and outside the field.
“This is to ensure that Nigerian farmers get it right, get value for money and the country earns foreign exchange through nut, apple (flesh) and other important extract from cashew,” he said.
The two-day training is being attended by cashew farmers and those that intend going into cashew farming in the state.
The training is being organized 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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