Findings have revealed that the increasing global demand for cashew nuts at international markets can be another massive foreign exchange earner for Nigeria if the export of the commodity is taken seriously.
It was learnt that the crop has the potential to generate N100 billion annually to Nigerian economy in the next 50 years.
This potential has increased cashew production in Africa and other nations of the world as well as increased exportation to various parts of the world.
Cashew, which is an important industrial and export crop in Nigeria is believed to have provided livelihood for over 300,000 families and generated about $253 million to Nigeria’s economy in 2015.
The National Publicity Secretary, National Cashew Association of Nigeria, NCAN, Sotonye Anga, who spoke on the steps to boost export of cashew nut in Nigeria, said the first step was for exporters to ensure their cashew nuts are well dried, tested okay, packed in jute bags and containerized, and then taken straight to port.
He added: “Usually when it comes to a shipping document, the document would be quality certificate, ISO sanitary certificate, fumigation certificate and certificate of origin including the bill of lading. These are the documents that form shipping documents and the third agency such as the NDLEA, NAFDAC, the Customs have to intervene to check the products to ensure that everything is okay.”
He further said: “There is huge market for Nigerian cashew because of its unique taste that has to do exclusively with environment. More uses for it is being found everyday, which is what is driving the demand and the appetite for cashew is also increasing.”
He explained that Nigeria needs to grow about 53 million new cashew trees to take its place in the world of cashew production chart, adding that it would create 2000 jobs and the fastest millionaires by growing 53 million cashew trees across the country.
However, he said the annual global demand for the commodity far exceeds the supply, which means there is enough room for new players in the cashew nut exportation business. The demand for cashew globally is about 3 million metric tonnes and total supply is about 2 million metric tonnes, so demand gap is about 1 million metric tonnes that has to be filled
Countries demanding cashew nuts from Nigeria include United States of America (USA), Indian, China, Vietnam, Brazil and several European countries. The demand for cashew nuts is huge in these countries because of its several uses. They use cashew nuts for paste, butter, milk, salad, curry, cookies, chicken, burfi and powder. The main cashew products are raw nuts, cashew kernels, cashew apple and cashew nut shell liquid, which are all traded in the international market.
In Nigeria, cashew grows successfully in virtually all agro-ecological zones including the semi-arid areas but with high concentration in the middle belt areas in smallholder farms and plantations. Cashew production comes from over 28 states including Kogi, Kwara, Oyo, Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Enugu, Benue, Cross River, Imo, Sokoto, Nassarawa, Ogun, Osun, Plateau, Kebbi and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), among others.