LAGOS- Some cashew farmers have appealed to the Federal Government to provide assistance that would guarantee increased yield in cashew plantations in the country.
In separate interviews, the farmers told newsmen  in Lagos that cashew was a cash crop that required low cost of maintenance.
According to them, in spite of the cheap maintenance, many farmers could still not afford the cost.
Mr Gidado Suleman, a cashew farmer based in Kebbi State, said that the crop had the potential to generate high income if properly cultivated.
He said that many cashew farmers were planting on a small scale and lacked the financial capacity to buy improved seedlings, modern implements and disease control chemicals.
“We are just planting at subsistence level to feed our family; we cannot plant on a large scale.
“Cultivating and nurturing of cashew up till harvest stage is not easy for subsistence farmers because of inadequate farming equipment.
“We often record low yield because many of the crops wither before harvest due to infectious diseases,’’ he said.
Another farmer, Mr Ezekiel Onyeama, said that the harvesting and processing of cashew were labour intensive.
He added that mechanised farming would help to reduce the stress.
Onyeama also said that cashew farmers often made little income from the cashew apples which usually get rotten during pre-market storage.
He said that an improvement in the cashew value chain would reduce the losses arising from rotten cashew fruits.
“Government should encourage juice making companies to produce 100 per cent cashew juice instead of producing flavoured drinks.
“This will reduce unnecessary wastage and enable farmers to get more returns on their investments,’’ he said.
Mrs Idiat Pelemo, a fruit seller at Mushin market, told Journalists that she sold a 50kg bag of cashew between N10, 000 and N12, 000.
Mrs Ramatu Adeoye, a cashew nut seller at Mile 12 market, spoke about the benefit of exporting the cashew nuts.
“Cashew nut is becoming widely accepted all over the world because of its nutritional benefits.
“Our customers are mostly from India and African countries.
“The nuts can be kept for 12 months or more, as long as it is well dried and packaged inside ‘ziploc’ transparent nylon bags and stored in a dry place,’’ she said.
Reports state Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of cashew in the world, coming after India, Brazil, Vietnam, Guinea Bissau and Tanzania.