The President National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) has said that cashew production in 2018 may increase by 10 per cent over the 2017 volume.
Mr. Tola Faseru, told our correspondent that production increased from 175,000 metric tonnes in 2016 to 220,000MT in 2017, adding that the projection for 2018 was 242,000MT.
He said this was based on the improvement recorded in the sector in terms of more plantations, good agricultural practices, improved seedling and post harvest, storage and packaging practices by farmers.
Raw cashew nuts topped the list of major agricultural exports in 2017 followed by sesame seeds, frozen shrimps and prawn, flour and meals of soya bean, according to the National Bureau Statistics.
Cashew traded for ₦13.5 billion in the second quarter of 2017, representing an increase of 463 per cent from ₦2.4 billion recorded in the first quarter.
It was followed by sesame seed, ₦7 billion; shrimps, ₦2.8 billion; flour mills; soya beans, ₦2.3 billion, and ginger, ₦663.7 million.
According to the NBS, cashew export in Q2 represented 45.4 per cent of the total agriculture exports and 1.37 per cent of total exports.
During the quarter under review, cashew nuts worth ₦12.16 billion were exported to Vietnam; ₦1.4 billion to India; and ₦6.34 million to Kazakhstan, the bureau reported.
Stakeholders, however, argued that the country could earn more revenue by adding value to its cashew exports.
The Publicity Secretary, NCAN, Mr. Sotonye Anga, said there was a need for government to step in and invest in cashew processing.
According to him, processing is capital intensive and cannot be handled by individuals or the kind of finance scheme that operates in the country.
He said, “Cashew processing requires money and short-term finance; the type allowed by Nigerian banks is not sufficient. One needs finance of up to five years and above because cashew takes four years to yield.
He said, “To process cashew, one needs money to buy equipment and to stockpile the raw fruits for years. We have been hearing of the export stimulation policy but the government has to turn it into a reality.
“The incentive for processing is too poor in Nigeria. All over the world, processors are being encouraged with incentives and the processed cashew is generating billions of dollars for nations that invest in processing instead of just exporting raw cashew.”
Faseru said a team made up of members of the association and the ministry of agriculture had visited Vietnam to witness the volume of cashew processing that went on there.