On Thursday, 11th of January 2018, the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) revealed that Nigeria has become the fourth largest producer of cashew in the world. This was made known when NCAN President, Tola Fasheru visited the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar in Abuja.
According to Tola Fasheru, cashew farmers in the country earned N123 billion ($402 million) from the export of the cash crop in 2017 and between 2015 and 2017, they earned N284.5bn ($813.05m) in foreign exchange from the exportation of cashew.
The association revealed that Nigeria produced 220,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts out of World’s total of 2.1 million tonnes in 2017 and exported 120,000 metric tonnes in the same year.
Fasheru called on the federal government to save the industry from folding by creating initiatives such as the provision of incentives to farmers to expand their trade and protection of farms against encroachment from foreigners.
He also requested that the federal government should include the provision of N20 billion loans to the farmers to expand their trade. There is also an urgent need to address the persistent gridlock in Apapa, Lagos that affects exports and the provision of 2.6 million jute bags for bagging cashew nuts this year.
The NCAN president noted that export earnings from the cash crop have witnessed a steady increase in the last two years, rising from $ 152, 000,000 in 2015, to $259,000,000 in 2016 and $402, 050,000 in 2017.
He revealed that NCAN’s major trading partners include the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas), USAID/NEXTT. It also collaborates with the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI).
Fasheru commended efforts by the federal government towards making the crop a major revenue earner, adding that Nigerian cashew nuts are highly sought-after in the international markets.
The Minister’s response to Fasheru’s plea
In her remarks, Ms. Abubakar expressed the federal government’s commitment towards supporting farmers.
She commended NCAN for its contributions to growing the cashew industry value chain and growth of the economy through job creation and foreign exchange earnings.
The minister promised that the ministry would partner with other agencies in tackling the challenges facing the cashew farmers and exporters.
What you need to know about Cashew and Cashew nut production in Nigeria
- In Nigeria, cashew is produced in the following states: Abia, Abuja FCT, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, and Oyo.
- According to Foraminifera Market Research, the history of cashew in Nigeria dates back to the 15th century. As at then, it was mainly used in afforestation schemes for the control of erosion in former Eastern Nigeria.
- The commercial cashew plantations started in Nigeria in the early 1950s with the establishment of the first commercial plantations at Oghe, Oji and Mbala by the defunct Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC) and Iwo, Eruwa and Upper Ogun by the defunct Western Nigeria Development Corporation (WNDC).
- From these locations, the planting of the crop started spreading to other parts of Nigeria particularly to the Central and Northern States of Nigeria.
- Research on its production and its uses started at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan in 1971.
- The introduction of Brazilian cashew biotype with improved and desirable nut and kernel quality characteristics by CRIN has further increased the crops spread and popularity in Nigeria.
- The commodity of commercial importance is the nut, which contains 47 percent fat, 21 percent protein and 22 percent carbohydrate.
- It also contains vitamins, especially thiamine. Its proteins are complete, having all the essential amino acids and a kilogramme of the nut yields about 6000 calories compared to 3600 calories from cereals, 1800 calories from meat and 650 calories from fresh citrus fruit.