Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Nigeria to Earn N1tn in 10 Years from Cashew Production..
The National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) has stated that Nigeria will generate a turnover of about N1 trillion in the next 10 years, noting however that necessary support and encouragement from regulators would make the target achievable.
The association also said Nigeria must promote cashew business and unlock financing for the sector for it to thrive.
National Publicity Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Universal Quest Nigeria, Mr. Sotonye Anga, who spoke on behalf of the group stated that the cashew industry requires a financing to the tune of N50 billion to boost production, processing and marketing. He said there was a need for value addition in the nation's cashew industry to create more jobs for unemployed young people, diversify the economy and earn foreign exchange.
Anga who spoke at the export platform business luncheon tagged: "Multibillion Naira Cashew industry", stressed that exporting raw cashew, also exports job opportunities, stressing the need for the nation to reverse this trend.
"Let us not forget that Africa is the centre of the cashew world, producing over 40 per cent 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 said.
"The time to add value to our cashew and thereby create more jobs for our unemployed young people, reduce unemployment, diversify our economy, reduce the pressure on our Naira, stimulate economic growth and get a bigger share of the cashew dollar is now," he added.
According to him, $1.8 billion per annum in Naira is an equivalent of N351 billion from just cashew alone, noting that it is as a matter of urgency for Nigeria to have a paradigm shift to look away from petrol dollar to cashew dollar.
He also stated that developing and investing in Nigeria's cashew industry offers a straight route from poverty to financial freedom and prosperity for thousands of families.
"Today, cashew is a major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria and thus listed as a transformational crop in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the federal government of Nigeria," he said.
He pointed out that the nation's annual production of raw cashew nuts now stands at 144,000 tonnes, stressing that in the last 9 years, cashew prices in Nigeria had increased by 266.7 per cent.
Furthermore, he advised that Nigeria needs to consolidate its place in the cashew world by increasing its cashew production and processing, considering the growth in demand for cashew globally and the rising consumer appetite for the crop.
"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 600 kg per hectare to at least 1,000 to 1500 kg per hectare.
He said as a result of this, there was the need to establish a national cashew seed programme, improve farm level productivity by planting improved disease-resistant high-yielding cashew seedlings, rejuvenate old cashew farms and organise capacity building programmes for cashew farmers.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the event from the Institute of Export of Nigeria, Mr. Yusuff Nurudeen Abubakar, said cashew is an emerging commodity crop whose cultivation cuts across the seven agro-ecologies in Nigeria, saying that the numerical strength of the farmers is astronomically increasing, while the crop's hectarage is correspondingly on the increase.
With the recent downturn in the oil and gas sector of the economy, he posited that Nigeria must turn to non-oil commodities to achieve economic growth.
He noted that according to the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the USAID collaboration with the council and African Cashew Alliance (ACA) to process only 50 per cent of the nation's cashew would create over 8,500 new jobs and inject a positive multiplier effect of over N2 billion into the country's 11 million rural economy.
According to him, the way forward for the cashew industry is for the federal government to set up low funding cashew research projects, establish cashew seed and processing centres, encourage youth in cashew-based agriculture, establish consolidated cashew trust fund and provide a constitution of cashew development commission.
"For cashew to achieve economic importance, vigorous campaigns also should be commenced to attract cashew growers."