Foremost construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, JBN is set to grab a huge chunk of Nigeria’s booming cashew industry with the inauguration of its mega cashew processing plant in Lagos.
In a recent statement signed by the company’s secretary, Cecilia Madueke, JBN is diversifying into agro-processing and has announced that the cashew processing plant will be inaugurated on September 10, 2022, in Lagos.
The agro-processing factory, according to the company, aims to form the cornerstone of its diversification activities as the construction giant plans to move some of its assets to agriculture.
JBN’s decision to venture into cashew processing may be connected to the cashew industry’s successful outing in recent times as the commodity forms a great source of FOREX due to its huge export potential.
The Nigerian cashew industry adds about N14 billion to the nation’s economy via export activities according to a statement by Ojo Ajanaku, the chairman of the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN).
Speaking further on the challenges currently facing the industry, Ajanaku revealed that the country is not currently processing the commodity thus the reason for its exports.
He said “We are not processing, but we are exporting raw cashew nuts, which gives us a lot of income when we talk about foreign earnings. This is second to sesame seed when you talk about foreign earning generations. We got about N14 billion in exports. We only had challenges in exporting during the time of Apapa gridlock.”
Ajanaku further added that the industry is currently processing about 350,000 metric tonnes of cashew per annum but can get it up to over one million metric tonnes in the next five years if the government and private organizations can invest in it.
With JBN’s investment in the sector, processing jobs which were exported to India, Vietnam, and other Asian countries will now remain in the country where about 400 Nigerians will be gainfully employed.