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July 24, 2024

Ekiti partners America to boost cashew production, access to markets

The Ekiti State Government is set to commence the distribution of subsidised polyclonal cashew seedlings to cashew farmers in the state as part of efforts to increase productivity and access to markets.

Commissioner for Agriculture Ebenezer Boluwade, who made this known in Ado Ekiti, explained that the scheme, which the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, is supporting, is aimed at boosting the trade of cashew by improving harvest and post-harvest techniques and supporting supply chain linkages between farmers and programme companies under the five-year PRO-Cashew USDA-funded development programme.

According to him, the PRO-Cashew project started in 2020. It will, over five years, support cashew farmers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria to improve productivity and access to markets, adding that Ekiti State became the first sub-national in Nigeria to establish a polyclonal cashew and scion garden at Erifun in Ado Ekiti in June 2023.

Boluwade stressed the commitment of Oyebanji’s administration to make the state sustainable in polyclonal cashew seedling production after the exit of the USDA intervention, emphasising that the aim is to leverage research and development towards making the state one of the highest cashew-producing states within the next few years.

Noting that polyclonal seedlings mature faster and have more resilience than seedlings propagated using seeds, Boluwade assured that the state government would subsidise the cost of the seedlings by 50 per cent to encourage and empower farmers in the state.

He advised interested farmers to contact the Tree Crops Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to benefit from the scheme, adding that beneficiaries’ farms must be within Ekiti State and owners must be able to provide reliable details about their farms for after-sales services to achieve the desired goals.

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