The Enugu State Government and the World Bank have set up an N100m aggregation centre for cashew processing in Ohom Orba community, Udenu Local Council of the state.
State Project Coordinator of Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project, Christian Nwachukwu, who disclosed this during a visit to sensitise stakeholders on the project at Orba, said the aggregation and processing centre project was conceived following the volume of cashew produced in the community.
He said the processing centre became possible after the state government completed its counterpart funds, explaining that the aggregation centre has a place where “farmers who harvest their produce take them for first level processing. He added, “This project will supports cashew farmers in increasing their productivity, as well as reduce post harvest waste.”
Nwachukwu added that cashew dealers in and around the area must embrace the gesture by the World Bank and the state government, stressing that six councils in the state are known for cashew production in which Udenu council was a major player.
“Orba in Udenu is a major cashew belt; lots of cashews are harvested here. So we are here to do advocacy on setting up an aggregation and processing centre. The idea is that the aggregation and processing plant will be processing cashew here in Orba.
“The aggregation centre is the first place where the farmers bring their produce for moisture level reduction before export,” he said
The Traditional ruler of Ohom Orba, Igwe Evarestus Onah, expressed gratitude to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and the World Bank for citing the project in the community.
“The community is in joyous mood because for a long time, cashew dealers here have suffered in the course of doing their business but right now APPEALS has come to their rescue by establishing cashew processing plants here in Orba.
Enugu State chairman of the National Cashew Association, Mr. Anthony Onah said the state can now export and supply processed cashew.
Also, Igwe Uchenna Anikwe, a major dealer in cashew said the APPEALS project in Orba would bring to an end the pains cashew farmers and dealers pass through in their business.
“With this APPEALS project backed by the World Bank, the government is helping us to upgrade our business, as well as giving us better opportunities.”