A cashew nursery based in Kobape under Obafemi Owode local government area of Ogun has been razed by fire, destroying 130,000 seedlings and eco-friendly nursery structure said to worth N200 million.
Sotonye Anga, owner and operator of Sotonye Anga Farms, speaking on Wednesday, said that the fire started in the early hours of June 1. Anga said that the cashew nursery was the largest in Nigeria and arguably in Africa and had employed over 500 people in the Ogun community since its establishment. “The fire started around 12 midnight. On the piece
of land, we had two nurseries but since they were built apart, one of the nurseries was not touched by the fire, while one was completely burnt down.
“The nursery was a major employer of labour in the community. We created over 500 jobs, if we
had succeeded in taking the seedlings into the field it would have created over 5,000 jobs,’’ he said. Anga, who is also the national publicity secretary of National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), said that the farm would have significantly contributed to the total cashew production output in Nigeria.
“Although we tried to salvage but only about 2,081 seedlings were saved but still they are of no economic benefits because they cannot be planted. So, you see that nothing is left,’’ he lamented. According to a police report obtained from Gogo Peters, the farm manager, who had immediately reported the incident to the Owode Egba divisional police headquarters, the fire was said to have been caused by thunder and lightning.