NIGERIA-The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced that the country earned 250 million US Dollars from the export of cashew nuts in 2022 and is forecasted to fetch about $500 million in 2023.
The announcement was made by Dr. Mohammad Mahood Abubarkar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development at the lunch of Nigeria Cashew Day and Cashew Season flag-off ceremony with the theme:” Industrializing the Nigeria Cashew Sector through Inclusive Policies, in Benin City.
Dr. Abubakar, who had represented by Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry however showed dissatisfaction as he lamented that out of the 250,000 mt of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria annually, only about 10% is processed locally.
According to the minister, cashew is increasing in importance as an export-oriented cash crop since the 1990s.
It has become an important source of non-oil export earnings (estimated to represent over 10% of GDP based on export data for 2022) cultivated in 27 States of Nigeria.
In realization of the importance of Cashews, Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has listed cashews as a priority crop to be promoted under the Import Substitution Strategy.
The government executives have said that the limited processing capabilities occur due to inadequate facilities to process other cashew derivatives such as cashew juice, jam, and ice cream which also means exporting Nigerian jobs to other countries
However, they also said that the government is looking forward to partnering with private investors to grow the oil Palm and cassava value chains in the quest to foster effective economic growth and development
A total of 62,500 hectares have been allocated to nine investors in this respect as the state makes an effort to ease farmers’ access to improved seeing for increased productivity.
In promoting productivity in 2023, 150,000 cashew seedlings would be distributed under collaboration with PRO- Cashew, a project funded by USDA, and implemented by cultivating new frontiers in Agriculture. Similarly, 40,000 cacao seedlings will be distributed in 2023 to Cocoa farmers in the State.
As stated by Prince Ojo, the National President of the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), 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 economy.