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  • Virus threatens cashew production target

    Sep 7th, 2020

    Covid-19 has threatened the 350,000 metric tons (MT) cashew production target this year intended to boost exports, the Chief Executive Officer, Seacos Nigeria Limited Ojo, Ajanaku, has said. Farmers expect output to reach about 350,000MT, from 250,000MT recorded in the 2018/2019 season. He said reports he got from cashew farmers across the country revealed that production had dropped. He said pandemic has caused significant hardship to cocoa exports. According to him, many famers left their crops to rot after the pandemic accelerated a fall in prices led to unprofitable lows.He stated that farmers were not optimistic that the crop production would surpass that of last year as farmers did not harvest much leaving the fruits to spoil. He said the situation was going to have an undeniable impact on cashew producer income. Nigeria is rated fourth-largest producer of cashew nuts in Africa and sixth in the world, with 275,000MT last year and is expected to reach 500,000MT by 2025, according to the National Cashew Association of Nigeria. Cashew has become a top-notch cash crop and it is one of the focused commodities by the Buhari led government to revamp the economy. Since the Federal Government renewed focus on agriculture, cashew crop has risen in its profile, emerging as one of the top-five exported non-oil commodities. Globally, the oversupply built up in the 2018/2019 season that led to a downward price trend seems to have been used up as the crop has a positive outlook. Nigeria’s cashew is usually harvested between February-June, though farmers stock the crop and export it all year round. It is eaten and also serves as industrial raw materials in firms producing chemicals, paints, varnishes, insecticides and fungicides, electrical conductress, and several types of oil among others. Apart from helping to maintain a healthy heart and bones, cashew also helps in weight loss. The crop can be grown in the entire Southwest, Southsouth and Southeast region, with Kogi, Oyo, Anambra, Osun and Enugu having the largest production areas. Farmers and exporters of the crop are targeting to earn at least $350million from export this season.