Nigerian exporters are expected to earn N313billion ($638.75 million) from 250,000 tonnes of cashew nuts this year as price of the commodity hits $2,555 per tonne. Raw cashew production in Nigeria is 11.9 per cent of the total projected Africa’s 2.1 million tonnes production in 2021. According to the President of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), Mr. Babatola Faseru, raw cashew nuts production in Africa is estimated at around 2.1 million tonnes representing about 57 per cent of global production. He noted that even with the 50 cashew factories, local processing of the product had remained very low to between 10 and 15 per cent of production processed locally.
He stressed that some of the processing plants were underutilised due to lack of access to reliable sources of funding, lack of proper policies and regulation of the industry in most African countries. However, Faseru commended farmers in the country for their role in improving the country’s cashew nuts quality in 2021, adding that the quality of nuts in Nigeria and Africa generally had witnessed a great improvement this year. The president said that there had been good harvest and better quality of the nuts this year. Faseru explained: “The crops came out quite early and good in terms of quality.
The handling of the crops at the farm level is something to cheer about. A good job was done, particularly in the drying of the cashew.” The quality of the nut, according to him, will mitigate the effects, which the ports and logistic challenges will have had on the industry, especially on buyers and exporters this year. However, he lamented the huge logistics problem at port access roads, saying that there was at a point the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) suspended export for two weeks, leading to delay of cargoes entering the port terminal. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said that it is working on exporting cashew directly from the South East region in a bid to increase nonoil exports in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of the Council, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, said in Enugu during a workshop organised by the council for stakeholders in the cashew value chain that NEPC had developed “Zero- Oil Plan” initiative to boost foreign exchange earnings through the non-oil export sector. The managing director noted that Nigeria was the second-largest producer of the nut with an annual production of 350,000 metric tonnes. He stressed that the aim of the Council was to earn 20 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP from non-oil exports, noting that the initial target was to exceed $30 billion in non-oil exports over the next 10 years.
He said: “We, therefore, require the collaboration of the state government and other stakeholders to develop exportable products from cashew. “We have a long way to go to be able to meet local demands and export, the quality issues have to be resolved because what sells products is the quality assurance.” According to the managing director, NEPC’s ‘One-State One-Product’ programme was developed to ensure that each state focused on at least one product to develop for export, citing that Enugu State had cashew and palm oil as its main and alternate products.