NIGERIA – Nigeria could earn over earn over US$2.7 billion on annual basis by increasing cashew nut production capacity to about 1 million metric tonnes (MMT) per year, according to Mr. Joseph Ajanaku, the President of the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN).
According to All Africa, Ajanuka made the statement during a telephone interview with THISDAY, a Nigerian national newspaper.
Speaking during the interview, Ajanuka said that the country’s current production stands at about 350,000 metric tonnes, a far cry from what the country is capable of producing.
He maintained that cashew could be grown in over 80 out of 109 senatorial districts in the country.
This comes after the Federal Government of Nigeria 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.
Dr. Mohammad Mahood Abubarkar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development revealed this at the lunch of Nigeria Cashew Day and Cashew Season flag-off ceremony with the theme:” Industrializing the Nigeria Cashew Sector through Inclusive Policies early this year in Benin.
According to Mohammad, cashew is increasing in importance as an export-oriented cash crop since the 1990s and it has become an important source of non-oil export earnings (estimated to represent over 10% of GDP based on export data for 2022).
In addition, Nigerian 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.
Ajanaku, therefore, stated that the association is pushing for a national policy that would attract and encourage both local and foreign investors into the cashew industry.
“We are trying to bring everybody into the sector to boost production, marketing, and processing and we are working with service providers. We are working towards having a sector that is attractive and investment-driven,” he said.
He advised the federal government to give cashew farmers the same privilege being given to rice farmers under the Anchor Borrow Programme (ABP), stressing that cashew farmers are currently hindered by inadequate funding to would boost cashew production in the country.