Anyigba is a major town in Kogi State and the serene community, which hosts the Kogi State University, is the site of a new cashew processing plant.
Analysts believe that the siting of the plant in Anyigba is apt because of the abundance of cashew in the neighbourhood to sustain full-scale production all-year round.
The cashew processing plant was established by Kogi State University in collaboration with the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMDC) because of the abundant cashew available in Kogi State and neighbouring states.
The university contributed the plant’s infrastructure — the building — while the RMRDC contributed the equipment. The RMRDC supplied the equipment through Abod Success Investment Ltd., a company which processes cashew nuts into spiced kernels.
Prof. Peter Onwualu, the Director-General of the RMRDC, says that 400, 000 metric tonnes of cashew are produced annually in Kogi State, for instance.
“About 60 per cent of the cashew is processed into intermediate products, such as cashew kernels, by an Indian company; Olam International, while the remaining 40 per cent is virtually wasted.
“The processed cashew products are shipped to India for further value addition and they are exported to the US and some parts of Africa as finished products,” he says.
The establishment of the cashew processing plant is, therefore, considered by analysts to be the climax of the efforts of the RMRDC to utilise the abundant cashew crop in the state and process it for value addition.
Observers say that Anyigba, a sleepy town, is now experiencing a flurry of business and entrepreneurial activities because of the cashew processing plant.
Onwualu says that Kogi State University had stockpiled enough raw materials that would sustain commercial production until the next harvest season, adding that the plant’s equipment had also been installed by the RMRDC.
He notes that that the equipment were locally designed and fabricated to promote local engineering capacities of the plant.
“This is the beginning of the actualisation of the policy of developing industrial clusters as a means of facilitating the growth of small scale industries in Nigeria,” Onwualu says.
The plant, which was inaugurated on October 14, 2010, is widely described as a venture which signifies the transformation of Kogi State University into a centre of purposeful learning and entrepreneurship.
The Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Dr Philip Salawu, shares similar sentiments. He believes that the launch of the cashew processing plant connotes the development of the university into “a citadel of manpower development and enterprise’’.
He says that the plant will stimulate economic activities in the state and the community in particular.
Salawu stresses that the inauguration of the plant is a fulfillment of the vision of the administration Gov. Ibrahim Idris to transform the state university into a centre of excellence.
Commenting on cashew production, the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Muhammad Ka’oje, says that the Federal Government is aware of the economic value of cashew, adding that efforts are being made to improve its production.
He says that cashew production in Nigeria increased from about 30,000 tonnes in 1990 to more than 176, 000 tonnes in 2000, adding that the development has made Nigeria to become an important participant in the world cashew market.
The minister, who gave the approval for the Anyigba cashew processing plant in 2009, underscores the importance of the project in efforts to actualise the industrial targets of the Federal Government’s Vision 20:2020 programme.
In most cases, the juicy cashew fruit is eaten raw, while its nuts are processed to be eaten or used as raw materials for industrial or medicinal products.
Diet Foods and Nutrition, a web-based health publication, says that cashew nuts, like all edible nuts, are an excellent source of protein and fibre.
It says that cashew nuts are rich in mono-unsaturated fat, which may help in protecting the heart, while they are also a good source of potassium, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and copper.
Research has also shown that Cashew Nutshell Liquid (CNSL) — a by-product of processed cashew nuts — contains anacardic acids, which could be further processed into alcohol or used for treating tooth abscesses.
In spite of the multifaceted benefits of cashew, cashew processing is largely nonexistent in Nigeria and experts say that 90 per cent of cashew nuts produced in the country are exported to overseas countries.
Ka’oje bemoans the situation where the countries importing Nigeria’s cashew have established cashew processing factories to process the nuts, in particular, into various value-added products.
He insists that the country is losing a lot of revenue by merely exporting cashew as a raw farm produce.
The minister says that the Anyigba cashew processing plant, therefore, demonstrates the government’s determination to reverse the trend and ensure the optimal exploitation of farm produce to enhance their value addition.
Prof. Hassan Isah, the Vice-Chancellor of Kogi State University, says that the cashew processing plant currently has a workforce of over 200, including a management team.
He says that the plant, which commenced production in July 2010, is a product of a synthesis of ideas and a strong desire to harness the potential of the abundant cashew available in the country for development efforts.
Isah notes that every part of the cashew fruit is useful, saying: “The fruits are edible and they are a reliable source of protein, fatty acids and minerals. They are also used in confectionery and bakery industry.
“The cashew CNSL is an important multipurpose industrial raw material in the production of resins and friction powder for the automobile industry,” he says.
Isah says that cashew has an excellent international market value, with the US importing about 10 million dollars (about N1.5 billion) worth of CNSL annually.
Nwoko is of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
FG To Eradicate Multiple Taxation In Mining Sector – Adegbite
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, says the Federal Government is setting in place various measures to eradicate multiple taxation for miners.
At the flagship Forum last Tuesday in Abuja, Adegbite said the ministry was engaging with the three tiers of government to resolve this issue.
He said that this informed the recent webinars and advocacy engagements by the ministry with all stakeholders in the country involved in the mining industry.
He said that though the constitution vested control of mineral resources in Nigeria in the Federal Government, the fund goes into the Federation Account, of which everybody participates.
He added that all the 774 local governments got money from that account but if they cut corners by disturbing the miners with unnecessary local taxes they get discouraged.
“So, it is double jeopardy when you go and do all these illegal taxes, or you go and disturb the miners, when you will benefit from what is derived in your place, you get a 13 per cent derivation.
“You also get your share of the federal accounts as of course laid down statutorily. So, it is a continuous process, we educate everybody and I think we are getting good results.”
The minister said there was a Mineral Resource Committee (MIRENCO) in every state and the chairman was nominated by the governor of that state, so that he would be in the know about everything going on about mining in that state.
He said that the chairman of that committee was to oversee all the activities between the miners, the community, the state government and the Federal Government.
“So, on that committee, the Federal Government has representatives, the local government has representatives, the governor chooses the chairman and then Ministry of Environment and other stakeholders bring in representatives as well.
“So, through this committee, everybody can participate, and make sure that we work in harmony, bake a bigger pie so everybody can share.
“So, it is continuous advocacy, we let them know what we are doing and of course they can also participate, where they do not understand or where the governor has any problem he can always ask the chairman.”
On the issue of rock blasting, he said cities had expanded to meet quarries.
According to him, quarrying is a necessity, because stones are needed to make concrete when building roads and houses.
Nigeria Lost N53.26bn To Gas Flaring In Two Months – NNPC
Nigeria lost an estimated N53.26billion in the first two months of this year as international oil companies and local players flared a total of 33.04 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas.
The oil companies wasted 17.53 billion scf of gas in February, compared to 15.51 billion scf in January, according to data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
With the price of natural gas put at $3.93 per 1,000scf as of Wednesday, the 33.04 billion scf flared translates to an estimated loss of $129.85million or N53.26billion (using the official exchange rate of N410.13/dollar).
The NNPC, in its latest monthly report, said out of the 206.05 billion scf produced in February, a total of 133.06 billion scf was commercialised, consisting of 40.15 billion scf and 92.91 billion scf for the domestic and export market respectively.
It said this implied that 64.48 per cent of the average daily gas produced was commercialised while the balance of 35.52 per cent was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared.
Gas flare rate was 7.67 per cent in February (i.e. 565.52 million standard cubic feet per day), compared to 7.73 per cent in January (i.e. 554.01 million scfd).
In January, a total of 223.55 billion scf of natural gas was produced, translating to an average daily production of 7,220.22 million scfd.
Out of the total gas output in January, a total of 149.24 billion scf was commercialised, consisting of 44.29 billion scf and 104.95 billion scf for the domestic and export markets respectively.
Firms producing less than 10,000 barrels of oil per day will pay a gas flare penalty of $0.5 per 1,000 scf.
The penalties paid by oil and gas companies for flaring gas in the country will be invested to build midstream gas infrastructure in host communities, according to a new provision introduced into the Petroleum Industry Bill by the National Assembly.
“Moneys received from gas flaring penalties by the commission (Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission) pursuant to this subsection, shall be transferred to the Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund for investment in midstream gas infrastructure within the host communities of the settlor on which the penalties are levied,” the Senate and House of Representatives said in subsection (4) of section 104 of the bill.
Nigeria To Boost Trade Volume Through ECOWAS TPOs
Nigeria is poised to boost its non-oil exports following the official launch of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisations (PTOs).
With Executive Director /CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Segun Awolowo, as the inaugural president of the ECOWAS TPOs, the NEPC is repositioning the nation’s export through the implementation of its N50 billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP), a part of the Economic Sustainability Plan whose development and implementation is being led by the Vice President.
EEFP is expected to significantly raise the volume of non-oil exports in Nigeria, and it’s a spin-off of the Zero Oil Plan developed by Awolowo and approved by the President.
Besides providing financial support for the average Nigerian exporter, EEFP is also going to see the establishment of top-notch warehouses close to airports where Nigerian goods meant for export would be packaged to globally competitive standards ahead of their exportation.
The EEFP, in line with the FG’sEconomic Sustainability Plan (ESP), is focused on cushioning the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on non-oil export businesses,thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new ones.
In March, Minister of Industry,Tradeand Investment (MITI), Niyi Adebayo, officially flagged off the EEFP and launched the first online Grant Management Portal (GMP) for non-oil exports.
While the EEFP is being implemented by the NEPC, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is the supervisory body over the agency and its operations.
It was learnt although the programme anticipated 500 beneficiaries, since the launch, it has received over 3,500 applications for the grant, out of which over 2,000 were verified after meeting the eligibility criteria.
Federal Government officials said further details and plans on disbursement to final successful beneficiaries are being awaited.
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