Cashew generated $253 million
(about N50.4billion) in foreign exchange for the nation last year, the
President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Tola Faseru, has
Faseru, who spoke yesterday during
the cashew planting season flag-off and roll out of Cashew Expansion Programme
of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture at Ife, Osun State, said the nation
produces about 160,000 metric tons of cashew yearly.
He said the target is to move
production to 500,000 tons by 2020, and also be able to develop a processing
capacity of 70 per cent which is about 350,000 metric tons, saying Nigeria is
the sixth largest cashew producer in the world after Ivory Coast, India, Vietnam,
Tanzania and Guinea Bissau.
He said cashew is currently grown
in over 21 states of the federation, including Ebonyi, Kogi, Kwara, Enugu,
Anambra, Imo, Abia, Cross River, Edo, Nassarawa, Benue, Taraba, Ogun, Oyo, Osun
, Ondo, Ekiti, Delta, Akwa Ibom , FCT and Niger, adding that It can be grown in
all parts of the country.
He said cashew is one of the 13
Non-oil Strategic Export Products (NSEPs), to be used to diversify the economy
away from oil under the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan of the Federal
Ministry of Trade and Investment.
He expressed satisfaction with the promptness of
implementation of the first phase of the four-year cashew development road map
which is to scale up its production.
The programme, he said, is a
great display of commitment by Chief Audu Ogbeh to the cashew industry.
He said: “The careful choice of
high yielding, early maturing and disease-resistant Brazilian jumbo and Indian
variety cashew planting materials sends a strong signal to cashew stakeholders
both locally and internationally that the cashew landscape in Nigeria is
gradually evolving and the industry is now better positioned to become number
one in the world.
He expressed hope that the
varieties will bring higher quality of nuts, increased yield per hectare,
better pricing of cashew internationally, and lead to increased job creation
and increased nuts availability for processing.
He commended the efforts of the
Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian
Export Import Bank (NEXIM) for the N550 billion export stimulating funds,
pleading that the funds be allowed to be accessed on the basis of commodity by
commodity to allow for effectiveness, better access for the genuine players in
the value chain and indeed for better monitoring and sectoral impact assessment.