The National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) says the country will generate N1 trillion from the cash crop in the next 10 years. However, the actualization of the projected revenue would be dependent on the kind of support and encouragement it gets from regulators.
Sotonye Anga, the National Publicity Secretary of NCAN, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Universal Quest Nigeria, spoke at an export platform business luncheon themed Multibillion Naira Cashew industry. He said that the cashew industry is filled with a lot of opportunities.
“Let us not forget that Africa is the centre of the cashew world, producing over 40 percent of 2.6 million tonnes of the world’s cashew nuts with Nigeria standing as one of the largest cashew producers in the continent alongside Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and recently Mali,” he told local media platform Thisday.
Anga said the time was right for the country to add value to its cashew and create more jobs, diversify the economy, strengthen the Naira, and also stimulate economic growth.
He noted that Nigeria’s annual production of raw cashew nuts currently stands at 144,000 tonnes. The crop has become a major foreign exchange earner for the country, with prices increasing by 266.7 percent in the last nine years.
The NCAN Secretary General therefore advised the government to consolidate its place in the world cashew market by increasing its cashew production and processing, as global demand for the crop rises.
“As we allocate more land for cashew cultivation, our major focus should be to increase our national average in terms of yield per hectare which is around 400kg to 600kg per hectare to at least 1,000 to 1500kg per hectare,” Thisday quoted Anga as saying.
He therefore urged the government to establish a national cashew seed programme, introduce disease-resistant seedlings, rejuvenate old cashew farms and build capacity of farmers.
The prospects shown by the cashew industry comes as a boost to Nigeria’s effort to diversify its economy. The largely oil-based economy has been hard hit by falling global oil prices, as revenues from the commodity accounts for about 95 percent of government spending. Having sectors and sub-sectors capable of providing alternative source of foreign exchange will therefore, help the long-term growth of the country.