Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahood Abubarkar, has said that cashew export will fetch Nigerian farmers about $500million by 2023.
He stated this on Wednesday at the launch of Nigeria Cashew Day and Cashew Season flag-off ceremony with the theme:” Industrializing the Nigeria Cashew Sector through Inclusive Policies”.
He also disclosed that of the 250,000 mt of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria, only about 10% is processed.
The Minister,who was represented at the event by Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, said at the end of 2022, cashew nuts exported from Nigeria generated over $250million (accounting for about 10% of the country’s agricultural export) and cashew export is expected to fetch Nigerian farmers about $500million by 2023.
He said:”I therefore, implore you to continue working together in harmony as this is the only way you can make positive impact towards sustainable development of the cashew industry and ensuring its contribution in achieving the overall goal of this Administration’s Economic Diversification Agenda.
“In Nigeria, cashew is increasing in its importance as an export oriented cash crop since in the 1990’s. It has become an important source of non-oil export earnings (estimated to represent over 10% GDP based on export data of 2022). It has become a commercial crop in Nigeria and is cultivated in 27 States of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“In realization of the importance of Cashew, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development listed Cashew as a priority crop to be promoted under the Import Substitution Strategy of the present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Cashew value chain is among the crops being promoted under the Value Chain Programme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Ministry has carried out a number of activities over the years to promote the growth of the value chain in the country. These includes:distribution of improved seeds/seedlings to cashew farmers free of charge,establishment of cashew cottage industries in some states, distribution of agro-chemicals/growth enhancers, carbon free jute bags, knapsack sprayers, water pump to cashew farmers free of charge, conduct of capacity building/training, sensitization exercise, stakeholders meeting e.t.c.
“As a result of the above activities by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, jobs were created along the value chain, income of farmers improved and our country’s foreign exchange earnings also improved. At the end of 2022, cashew nuts exported from Nigeria generated over $250million (accounting for about 10% of the country’s agricultural export) and cashew export is expected to fetch Nigerian farmer about $500million by 2023.
” it is important to note however that, one of the major constraints of the cashew industry in Nigeria is skill gap, technological know-how on processing, inadequate processing capacity of our processing plants and equipment.
” Of the 250,000 mt of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria, only about 10% is processed while Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) are sold to cashew buying agents for export and cashew apple eaten raw and the rest wasted because of inadequate facilities to process other cashew derivative e.g cashew juice, jam, ice cream etc. This means exporting Nigerian jobs to other countries.
Edo state governor, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Stephen Idehenre, said government hope is to see the event attract more investors, impact knowledge , harmonize our cashew industry for the gain of the state economy .
Obaseki said: “Our collaboration with the private sector to grow the oil Palm and cassava value chains are testimonies of how well thought policies could foster effective economic growth and development. The state is campioning the biggest single investment in oil Palm production in Africa through Edo State Oil Palm Programme.
” A total of 62,500 hectares have been allocated to nine investors in this respect. The theme of this event is apt as the development of Inclusive Policies for the sector will no doubt grow cashew value chains as demonstrated by the Eso state government in its Oil Palm intensification initiative.
“The state is making an effort to ease farmers access to improved seeing for increased productivity. 40,000 caco seedlings would be distributed in 2023 to Cocoa farmers in the State. Also , 150,000 cashew seedlings would be distributed under our collaboration with PRO- Cashew , a project funded by USDA, and implemented by cultivating new frontiers in Agriculture.
In 2021, 50,000 cashew seedlings were distributed to farmers under the collaboration between the state government and the federation of agricultural commodity associations of Nigeria.
Speaking,the National President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Prince Ojo Joseph Ajanaku, said at present Nigeria is said to be the 5th largest producer of cashew in the world with Ivory Coast taking the lead.
Prince Ojo posited that, cashew growth in Nigeria has been steadily expanding over the last 3 years by 11%, which implies that the sector has the potential to drive national revenue generation, job creation and economic diversification.
He said: “The National Cashew Association of Nigeria was founded in 1999 to harmonize and coordinate the affairs of cashew private sector players for the profitability of all stakeholders. NCAN’s long term goal is to transform Nigeria from a low-priced commodity producer to a reliable supplier and exporter of high-quality cashew products (kernels, nuts, foods and indigenous innovations etc.).
“Nigeria is currently said to be 5th largest producer of cashew in the world with Ivory Coast taking the lead.Cashew growth in Nigeria has been steadily expanding over the last 3 years by 11%, which implies that the sector has the potential to drive national revenue generation, job creation and economic diversification.
” It is worthy to mention that cashew can be produced in all states in Nigeria, however, only 22 states including the FCT are currently producing cashew in commercial volume.
More than 3 million people in Nigeria, mostly women, works in the cashew sector, which also provides the primary source of household income for more than one million rural households in Nigeria.
“While cashew output in Nigeria has experienced growth, the same cannot be said for the country’s processing capacities.
Less than 10% of cashew nut production is processed locally in Nigeria, which presents significant constraint for the country’s value addition efforts.
” Although a number of processors have successfully supplied the international market, they still need to be helped to strengthen and grow their tiny market share.
Major constraints include the high cost of capital and high staff turnover but, more importantly, the difficulty in purchasing and storing raw nuts to process throughout the year”.