A cashew nursery with 130,000 seedlings and eco-friendly structure estimated at N200 million was destroyed by fire in Kobape, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun.
Concise News gathered 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.
Owner and Operator of Sotonye Anga Farms, Sotonye Anga, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), yesterday, that the fire started in the early hours of June 1.
According to him, it was raining heavily at the time the fire started and no one could say how it started.
“The fire started between 12 mid-night and 1:00 am. The cashew nursery is the largest in Nigeria and Africa.
“The total of cashew seedlings destroyed was 130,000 and its nursery is valued to be about N200 million.
“On the piece of land, we had two nurseries but since they were built apart, one of the nurseries was not torched 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 the farm would have significantly contributed to the total cashew production output in Nigeria.
“As sad as the event is, God who gave us the initiative will enable us to rebuild it that is the hope we have.
“Although we tried to salvage it, 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.’’
A police report obtained from Gogo Peters, the farm manager, who had reported the incident to the Owode Egba Divisional Police Headquarters, stated that the fire was caused by thunder and lightning.