NIGERIA – Julius Berger Plc, a leading civil engineering and construction company in Nigeria, has cut ribbon to its newly constructed semi-automated cashew processing factory.
Opening of the ultra-modern cashew processing plant with a processing capacity of about 60 tons per day, marks a major milestone for the company as it seeks to diversify beyond the construction sector through tapping into the agriculture industry.
Speaking at the inauguration event according to report by Guardian Nigeria, 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 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.”
Julius Berger’s agro-processing activities are set to benefit from its leading technical expertise and innovation with a proven record of reliably delivering solutions to the highest standards.
The Director of Corporate Development at Julius Berger, Tobias Meletschus noted, “To guarantee the highest quality of product and service, 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.”
Julius Berger’s investment in the sector is timely as Nigeria targets to increase production of cashew nuts from the current 250,000 metric tonnes to 350,000 metric tonnes by 2023, and processing capacity from 15 per cent in 2020 to 35 per cent by 2023.
The West African country is the third largest cashew producer in Africa behind Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania.
In a bid to boost production and promote processing, the government has exempted companies involved in cashew nut processing from tax for the next 5 years.
This was announced by Evelyn Ngige, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment at the side-lines of the launch of the 16th Annual Cashew Conference organized by the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) and held in Abuja until September 15th.
According to Mr. Ngige, the tax incentive should help improve the business environment and stimulate investments for the development of the cashew value chain.
The measure comes on top of other tax advantages already enjoyed by players in the sector such as tax exemptions on imported machinery and equipment for cashew nut processing.
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