The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has assured cashew farmers in Oyo state of its commitment to providing necessary information to boost their yields. Ezra Yakusak, Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), gave the commitment during a workshop on boosting the quality and quantity of Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) production in Oyo State in the three major growing communities; Okeho, Iseyin and Iganna. The workshop with the theme: “Boosting of Cashew Production for Export Market from Oyo State” was organised for RCN Growers, Merchants and other Stakeholders across the RCN production value chain by the NEPC. MEDICAL CONSULTANTS REVEALED HOW MEN CAN NATURALLY AND PERMANENTLY CURE POOR ERECTION, SMALL AND SHAMEFUL MANHOOD, AND INFERTILITY ISSUES WITHOUT SIDE EFFECTS. STOP THE USE OF HARD DRUG FOR SEX! IT KILLS!!!.. The workshop was a follow up action to some of the numerous challenges hindering the production levels and marketing of the product as identified during the series of survey earlier conducted across the RCN producing communities in the state. Yakusak, who was represented by Bolanle Emmanuel, Trade Promotion Advisor (TPA), NEPC Ibadan Export Assistance Office) in his opening remarks urged participants not to see the workshop as one of those trainings but to take the advantage of the workshop to improve on their current practice to enhance quality RCN production from the state. He reiterated the determination of the NEPC to develop cashew nut in Oyo State, noting that series of developmental events have been lined up to position Oyo State Cashew as the leading brand at the international market. He stated further that effort is on top gear to reposition the Nigerian economy from monolithic system entirely dependent, financed and operated on income generated from crude oil exports to a more robust system as was the case prior to the discovery of oil in 1957 when agriculture was the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. According to Yakusak, the NEPC was established by law in 1976 as the Federal Government’s apex institution for the promotion and development of non-oil exports in Nigeria. [mailerlite_form form_id=1] POLL “The crash in international crude oil prices between 2015 and 2016 has led to a reduction in the Nigeria’s oil revenue from US$70 billion in 2014, to less than US$40 billion in 2015. The outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 plunged the Nigeria’s economy into disarray and which was a pointer for us to diversify the economy from dependence crude oil to non-oil development. “In 2015, NEPC developed a game changer document tagged the zero-oil plan. The initiative was developed as a strategy for boosting foreign exchange earnings through the non-oil sector, preparing Nigeria for an economy where it does not have to depend on a single drop of crude oil for survival. Dr. Olufemi Ibiremo, a researcher from Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) in his presentation titled; “Good Agricultural Practices for Improved Productivity and Quality’ said cashew is a commodity crop of international recognition whose importance in foreign exchange earnings and afforestation cannot be overemphasized. “Cashew contributes 42 per cent to National GDP and Nigeria is the 4th largest producer of RCN after Cote D’Ivoire, Tanzania and Vietnam. Cashew is cultivated in 27 states in Nigeria. It has high potential to increase production and can adapt to varying climatic conditions that are marginal to many other tree crops. It is also a hardy crop which survives across various agro-ecological zones”. Ibiremo listed factors contributing to low yield of cashew to include; farmers planting seeds of open pollinated nuts with poor genetic make-up; low use of clones as planting materials, high cashew population density, poor pest and disease management and less attention to soil degradation issues; amongst others. He drew the attention of the participants to things to observe during harvesting and post-harvest period, stating that when nut turns from green to ash colour, it is a signs of nut maturity. “Nut can be harvested by allowing the nut to drop or using a small basket attached to the head of a long pole. He also pointed out that sun-drying is to reduce moisture content and mature the seed in infra-red and ultra-violet rays of the sun. MegaMillions – MPU “Drying thickness should be about four-inches, the crop should be cleaned of stones and extraneous materials. On Post-harvest handlings in cashew, he hinted that, “dry nuts for three days on concrete floor or tarpaulins reduce the moisture content from 12 percent at harvest down to 8 percent for long term storage. “Over drying nuts could damage the kernel and cracking of the pericarp and leaching of CNSL. Nuts should be stored in jute (hessian) bags so as to allow good air flow in stores with temperatures moderate and store filled bags on pallets free from pests”, Ibiremo stressed. He warned that bags made of plastic can lead to overheating and damage to the crop while allowing pests in storage can cause damage to the crop. He thus advised: “Take precautions against rodents, the storage area should be water tight to prevent mould growth.” Concluding, the agriculturist said good agricultural practices involve the choice of good planting materials with appropriate production techniques and suitable post-harvest handling will lead to high grade exportable cashew nuts.