Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has commissioned a 5,000 tonnes per year cashew processing factory established by FoodPro Limited in Ilorin, Kwara State.
While speaking after a guided tour of the plant, Osinbajo said he was extremely impressed by the factory and the commitment to adhering to global standards. He expressed the government's resolve to support the private sector with policies that would aid local businesses.
He was accompanied to the factory by the governor of Kwara State; Abdulfatah Ahmed; Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed; Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo, and the Executive Director of the Bank of Industry, Waheed Olagunju.
Co-Founder/ CEO of FoodPro Limited, Ayo Olajiga, who guided the Vice President on the tour of the factory, explained the different stages of the cashew processing, from sizing and boiling, shelling and scooping, to drying and peeling and finally grading and packaging.
Olajiga said: "Through domestic processing of raw cashew nuts, we have created more than 400 direct jobs and several thousand indirect jobs for farmers, vendors, suppliers and artisans, who form the heartbeat of FoodPro's value chain. With 90 per cent of FoodPro's employees being women, we are humbled by the role we play in impacting communities and improving economic and social development conditions in our host community."
He stated that the importance of cashew processing to economic development cannot be overemphasized, stating that it creates sustainable jobs and leads to overall increase in the value of the cashew sector.
The co-founder further stated that the management was particularly grateful to the Federal Government of Nigeria, who acted through its agencies; the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and Bank of Industry (BOI), that both contributed to how the dream became a reality.
He pointed out that over the years; NEPC under the leadership of Mr. Awolowo has worked relentlessly to help FoodPro gain valuable market access via local and international trade shows in Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America.