Julius Berger Nigeria Plc has commissioned an ultra-modern cashew processing plant in Epe, Lagos State as part of efforts to transform the coastal town and diversify into other sectors of the economy. The commissioning of the state-of-the-art cashew plant was an effort by the company at empowering the rural dwellers economically and making it a thriving town. Speaking at the event, Chairman of Julius Berger’s Board of Directors, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, said the occasion marked a pivotal moment in the company’s history “as we are ready to succeed and move in the right direction tremendously for Nigeria, our employees and shareholders”. He recalled the history of the company in Nigeria, saying since 1965 when Julius Berger entered Nigeria with the construction of Eko Bridge, “we have always represented ourselves very well with our trademark great value chain”. He added: “We have now strategically diversified Julius Berger from being only an engineering construction entity into agricultural produce processing for which we all know Nigerians have a historical antecedent and understandable nostalgia.” He noted that there is a lot the company still has in the pipeline, stressing: “As we continue to work on our plans, you will see us transform into a conglomerate.” The Chairman revealed that the new factory is semi-automated for premium international quality cashew processing designed to produce about 60 tons per day. “We seriously aim to create and sustain increasing value and add significantly to Nigeria’s GDP,” he added. Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr. Lars Richter, said Julius Berger inaugurated its first Cashew Processing Plant, marking another significant milestone in the company’s partnering relationship with Nigeria. “Today we start another milestone in our relationship with Nigeria built from the past into the future. That mission will continue. Our launch into agriculture is part of our larger ambition to diversify and expand our positive impact while extending our contribution to Nigeria, beyond construction. “I cannot help but speak about how far we have come as a company and how much more we hope to achieve. I thank the Epe community for welcoming the company and partnering with us for greater heights for the country’s cashew industry and the country as a whole.” The Director of Corporate Development, Tobias Meletschus, said the project was part of the determination towards greater corporate growth as “this is a tremendous achievement and our first step into agro-processing.” Declaring that the company values productive and result-oriented partnerships which are innovative and guarantee the highest quality of product and service, Meletschus noted: “To achieve this, we are already partnering with farmers, employing over 300 employees with impressive payroll even as we target a zero-waste policy at our production plant. All these alongside the fact that our cashew is farmed and processed locally make our efforts homegrown and essentially unique.” After the tour of the processing plant and inspection of the finished and packaged Julius Berger cashew for export, the representative of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Mrs Abimbola Oguntuyi, commended Julius Berger for the well-thought-out investment. Other officials in Julius Berger’s hosting entourage at the event were the company’s Board members and the Company Secretary; management staff of the corporation, the JBN Cashew plant project managers, Tarciso Falcao, Denis Steppuhn and Foluke Abidoye, amongst many others. The brand name of the new and uniquely processed Julius Berger cashew is Mighty Kashoo.