LAGOS – The President of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), Babatola Faseru, has commended Nigeria’s cashew farmers for their role in improving the quality of cashew nuts, stating that the quality in Nigeria and Africa generally has seen a great improvement this year.
He attributed the improvement in quality to the good work by cashew farmers.
Faseru, while speaking virtually at the ACA’s Global market encounter forum to review the cashew market in 2021, said that farmers have been particularly meticulous in drying their nuts and in following several other good harvest practices that ensure quality.
“The crops came out quite early and good in terms of quality, and that is commendable. The handling of the crops at the farm level is something to cheer about. A good job was done, particularly in the drying of the cashew. You find out that farmer dried nuts up to about seven percent this year, improving on quality,” he said.
This, according to him, mitigated the effects ports and logistical challenges would have had on the industry, especially on buyers and exporters this year.
“Thank God farmers dried their cashews well because this year we had a huge logistics problem in Nigeria; one we have never seen before.
“In fact, at one point, the Ports Authority suspended export for like two weeks so we had a lot of cargo waiting and were not able to get into the port terminal,” he said.
He believed if farmers maintained this good work, the fortunes of various stakeholders of the cashew industry in Nigeria, especially farmers, would increase.
On cashew processing, Faseru expressed delight in the progress the subsector is making in the country.
According to him, there is increasingly a better understanding of the cashew industry now, and this is changing the risk perception of people about the industry.
Also, he believed even though Nigerian processors are still not globally competitive, recent government policies of the cashew industry appear favourable for local processors to grow.
According to him, under his leadership, the ACA is collaborating with stakeholders to make the local processors in Nigeria and Africa at large globally competitive.
“We are working hard and putting measures in place to make the industry very competitive. The African Cashew Alliance will be organising several fora, training and capacity building programs that will put processors in Nigeria and Africa in a better position to compete at the global level”, he said.
He was optimistic that with the right and favourable measures and support, cashew processing in Nigeria will grow and the country will enjoy the enormous benefits of the industry.
“I believe that sustainability of the cashew industry will be guaranteed by our ability to control the market by processing locally. That is the only way we can be competitive. I believe that in years to come, we will be better than we are now,” he added.
The African Cashew industry is considered by cashew market experts as the most promising of the global cashew industry.
Raw cashew nuts (RCN) production in Africa, according to the ACA, is estimated at around 2.1 million tonnes, representing about 57 percent of global production.
Nigeria’s production is estimated by the ACA to be between 210,000 – 250,000 tons this year.
Despite seeing some significant increase in the number of cashew factories to about 50, about three times more than the number a decade ago, local processing of the product remains very low, with only 10 percent to 15 percent of production processed locally.
The ACA attributes this to the fact that most of these processing plants are underutilised due to a lack of access to reliable sources of funding, lack of proper policies, and regulation of the industry in most African countries.
Source: Daily Independent