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  • Cashew group to build int’l brand for products

    Apr 1st, 2016

    The National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) plans to build international brands for cashew products to match the stature of one of the largest cashew nut exporter in the world, its President, Mr Tola Faseru has said.

    Speaking while presenting the association’s Road Map for Cashew Industry Development in Nigeria to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,Chief Audu Ogbeh in Abuja, Faseru said to reach the target, the country has to build brands for processing mills, producers and exporters following international standards and comply with food hygiene regulations.

    According to him, cashew provides livelihood for over 300,000 families. He said the crop generated $253 million last year.

    He said the nation produces about 160,000 tons of cashew nuts yearly, adding that the crop is grown in Kogi, Kwara, Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Cross River, Edo, Nassarawa, Benue, Taraba, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Niger and Osun states.

    He added that the crop can grow in all parts of the country, and that the association is making efforts to get more states involved in the production of the crop. This year, he said the association is expecting 175,000 tons.

    On the road map, Faseru said it is focused on increasing Nigeria’s cashew production from 160,000 tons to 500,000 tons and processing 70 per cent of total production in four years, from 2016-2020. By 2024, he said the target is to achieve a total yearly national production of 840,000 metric tons.

    Efforts, he noted, would be made to increase training in harvesting and proper post-harvest handling practices. This,he maintained, would boost production figures by 40 per cent by the prevention of losses and wastages. Achieving this, he noted, would make Nigeria the largest producer of cashew in the world.

    With increasing global demand for cashew nuts driven by a rising middle class in China and the need for nuts in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East, he said raw cashew demand has grown to 3,000,000 tons. Global yearly raw cashew nut production, he added is put at 2,100,000 tons.

    He mentioned challenges to include: encroachment of foreigners at farm gate which leads to a distortion in the value chain, non implementation of the Export Expansion Grant (EEG), double taxation through Nigeria Export Levy (NXP) and Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme (NESS), smuggling of cashew nuts from the borders which leads to understated production figures, unfavorable foreign exchange policies, scarcity of Jute bags for packaging the product and the inability of exporters to have unfettered access to export proceeds.

    Pending when it begins to produce jute bags locally, he said the association intends to import 1.5 million jute bags required for this year’s season.

    According to him, cashew farmers need to access to credit so they could grow their production and business and that farmers should be able to use their lands as collateral to obtain loan.

    He called for government support to enable the association set up a N20 billion cashew research fund to promote continuous product development, production of hybrid seedlings and better agronomical practice. The research institute, he added, would commit to producing local cashew processing machines.

    In addition, he said the association is also setting up a N50 billion Cashew Processing Fund to enable it establish 200 new cashew processing factories.