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Liberian firm turns cashews nuts into food products

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Creaser, which is universally known as Cashews nuts, is being manufactured into different kinds of food products in Liberia for the first time by a Liberian-owned company known as Symmetrix Management Holding, Inc.

The SMH has two agricultural farms in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties, northwestern Liberia with dozens of Liberians employed to monitor growth of the products.

Breaking news about the agricultural activities of SMH in Liberia at its Clay Street Office in Monrovia, Head of Operations, Mr. Bai T. Moore Massaquoi, said the firm is the biggest producer of cashews nuts on the Liberia market.

He said cashews nuts were discovered 40 years ago by researchers who found out that besides rooting, the nuts can also be turned into other eatable products.

According to Mr. Massaquoi, the production of cashews nuts goes through various stages such as drying, rooting, and pealing before being ready for consumption, adding that cashews nuts are very nice for eating.
He noted that cashews nuts are grown in some communities in Liberia, and with the presence of a manufacturer here, more and more Liberians would be encouraged to venture into cashews nuts farming.

He explained that cashews nuts are sold in supermarkets and by individuals, though they are being imported into the country, nothing that as a Liberian-owned company involved in the production of cashews nuts for the local market, the company looks forward to engage in export in the future when enough cashews farms are available. Massaquoi further explained that in Bomi County, the company has two farms and there are two others in Grand Cape Mount County.

He said the SMH farms are about 3,000 acres and they are being expanded every year. He noted that though Liberian owned, they are not receiving support from anywhere, adding that despite not receiving support, workers at the farms in both Bomi and Grand Cape Mount continue to produce cashews nuts for the Liberian market.

He revealed SMH has a dream to expand to all 15 counties of Liberia, indicating that presently, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Ahmad Massaquoi, is in Nimba County, talking with citizens to get involved in cashews farming.

CEO Massaquoi said while SMH does not have financial ability now, it is prepared to work with fellow Liberians to grow the crops for themselves and his company will provide technical support, and eventually, buys from local farmers.

Head of Operations Bai also said the company is producing cashews nuts in 10, 50, and 500 grams respectively to meet customers’ demand.

Cashews nuts belong to the family of Anacardiaceae, which includes mangoes and pistachios, and are originally native of coastal areas in northeastern Brazil . They are kidney-shaped seeds and are widely cultivated in tropical climates.

According to SWOT analysis, cashews nuts are processed organically to meet dietary needs of various clients, but the product has post-harvest handling losses from spoil void, poor post-harvest management practices; poor infrastructural facilities, transportation and unstable power supply that continues to plague the Liberian processing industry.

Bai emphasized a need for promotion to increase local consumption of cashew, including awareness on health benefit of cashew consumption as well as educate farmers on proper post-harvest handling practices, and study tour to producing countries like Vietnam, India and Brazil by officials to study cashew processing industries.

He said cashews are very nutritious and a powerhouse of proteins and essential minerals, including copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

It also contains vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B 1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) and vitamin K (phylloquinone); a good source of magnesium, which is vital for the healthy development of bones, muscles, tissues, and body organs as well as helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and nerve function, and sustain immune system, among others.

By Emmanuel Mondaye–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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