Friday, 29 January 2016

Over 2500 to lose jobs as Nigeria's biggest cashew factory St to shut down

The National Cashew Association of Nigeria on Thursday expressed concern that Olam Cashew Factory, Nigeria’s biggest cashew factory, would go into extinction if precautionary measures are not taken.

Sotonye Anga, the National Publicity Secretary of NCAN, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that cashew processors require government’s support to survive in the country.
Anga said the main reason for the imminent closure was because the factory was operating below 30 per cent installed capacity in 2015, in addition to the high cost of production.
He said the factory had an initial capacity of 28,000 metric tons per annum and had over 2,500 workers who were mostly women.
Anga said: “It is sad to say, but I am compelled to let you know that within days from today, January 28, Nigeria’s largest cashew processing factory will be shut down.
“This multi-billion Naira cashew factory, located in Kwara State, has an installed capacity of 28,000 metric tons of cashew per annum.
“In 2015, the cashew factory operated below 30 per cent of its installed capacity and by January 2016, it has become totally unsustainable and no longer viable processing cashew from this factory.
“The rationale behind the closure is the high cost of processing and production of cashew nuts, making them uncompetitive globally.”
According to Anga, the cost of processing cashew in other parts of the world is relatively low.
He cited countries such as India, Brazil, Ghana and Vietnam.
Anga said the average cost of processing cashew in Nigeria is $500 per ton, as against $200 to $250 in other cashew processing countries earlier mentioned.
He said: “How can Nigeria compete globally when the cost of production is about the highest owing to poor electricity supply, high cost of diesel, huge cost of running the generators?
“Other challenges are multiple-taxation, zero incentive to cashew processors and high rates on bank facilities.

“The closure of this factory would be a blow to Nigeria’s cashew industry and loss of jobs for 2,500 Nigerians, who depend on this factory for their livelihood.
“Cashew processors are very important value chain actors in the cashew ecosystem.
“Every cashew processing factory shut down translates to thousands of job losses.”
Anga said in 2014 and 2015, some pioneer cashew processing factories like Jof Cashew in Ondo State and ACET cashew in Lagos State were forced to shut down.
He said: “It is obvious that cashew processors require government’s support to survive.
“We, therefore, call on the government of Nigeria to be mindful of the plight of cashew processors in the country.
“The government should quickly create a cashew investment incentive that will deliberately reduce the cost of production and keep our processors afloat and in business to attract more investment to the sector.
“A strong cashew processing capacity in Nigeria means a guaranteed market for Nigeria’s raw cashew.”



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