Olam Food Ingredients (Ofi), the biggest cashew company in Kwara on Thursday pledged to continually improve t he wellbeing of cashew farmers and partnering communities for better yields.
Mr Rajeesh Neelanjeri, the the General Manager of Ofi, who spoke at the Annual Cashew Farmers Meeting organized by the company in Ilorin said that farmers are backbone of any agriculture sector.
The meeting, which had in attendance 15 cashew farmers’ groups, drawn across communities in Kwara and Oyo states, also involved sensitization on improved cashew production and harvesting practices.
Neelanjeri added that the organization always put best of its efforts to provide support to farmers.
He stated that efforts of the company included training of farmers on Good Agriculture practices (GAP), providing pre-season finance, distribution of farming equipment, social and community programmes etc.
He also said that sustainability philosophy of the organization centres around five main pillars such as prosperous farmers, thriving communities, sustainable choices, climate positive and regenerating the living world.
“We want to partner our stakeholders with a sense of responsibility towards the society and the external environment and leave a sustainably positive impact through our activities”, he said.
Also speaking, Malam Kabiru Mohammed, the Director of Agric, Kwara Ministry of Agriculture, spoke on “Improvement in Cashew Farming System in Nigeria”.
Mohammed who was represented by Mr. Amole Nathaniel, the Director of the Nigeria Produce and Inspection Service, Kwara Ministry of Agriculture stated that improved cashew production can only be achieved through implementation of modern cashew cultivation practices.
“Cashew is a commodity crop of international recognition and it is important in foreign exchange earnings. It has turned out to be a oil well given to us by divinity. But this can only be achieved through implementation of modern cashew cultivation.
“Thus, there’s need to move from subsistence to mechanized farming system most especially where there is vast land usage”, he said.
He commended the company for participatory efforts in Rural Agrarian Infrastructural Development programmes, saying that the efforts had encouraged betterments of the people and cashew industry at large.
“I also believe that the annual cashew farmers meeting has in all facet to enhance our cashew farmer production at all levels and their wellbeing,” he said.
Sidelines of the programme includes. presentation of awards to outstanding cashew farmers in Kwara and Oyo states.