Nigerian exporters are losing N552billion or 66.7 per cent annually to unprocessed cashew annually in the global market.
Finding revealed that the country has the capacity to produce 300,000 metric tonnes of the nuts annually but due to lack of facilities, the country was selling its product at 33.3 per cent of the value. It was gathered that exporters have been selling the nuts at $2,000 per tonnes instead of $6,000.
According to the President of National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Soni Stephenson Uzoechi, on the average, the country could earn N276billion ($600 million) from cashew exportation alone.
However, he noted that when cashew is processed into cashew kernel, a tonne of the processed kernel would be $6,000. Besides, it was learnt that the ongoing pandemic would further affect Nigerian cashew exporters $122million this year from its projected ($600.5 million) in the Asian market if the outbreak of coronavirus is not curtailed.
Nigeria, a member of the International Consultative Cashew Council (ICCC), is the fourth largest producer of cashew in the world and its major trading partners are the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), Vietnam Cashew Association and Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI).
However, Vietnam this year, had reduced processing capacity following the corona virus outbreak in China, which has led to its absence from Ivory Coast, Benin, Nigeria and Ghana raw cashew nuts markets.
The President of the Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers’ Association, Subraya Pai, said that with Vietnam bringing down prices, there was larger disparity in the international market.
It would be recalled that in 2017, the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) said that farmers in the country earned N123 billion ($402 million) from the export of the nut.
It added that between 2015 and 2017, exporters in the country earned N284.5billion ($813.05million) in foreign exchange from the exportation of cashew.
This year, the Chief Executive Officer, Seacos Nigeria Limited, Ojo Ajanaku, said they were expecting a favourable price and were optimistic that they would earn more from cashew nuts .
He explained that farmers were very optimistic that 2020 crop production would surpass that of this year as many new trees would start producing coupled with the early fruiting of most trees in key producing states.
In 2019, the delay in cargo processing affected exporters’ 260,000 tonnes of cashew at the nation’s seaports.
It was gathered that the shipments of 50,000 tonnes of the nuts for Vietnamese markets were trapped at Lagos Port due to inefficiency in April,2019 as some containerised nuts, which arrived the seaports for export in the first quarter of the year were delayed by Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) and other security agencies.
Other challenges facing the exporters include lack of machine and equipment, poor handling, pilferage and defective packaging of the nuts.
Worried by the challenges, the President of Nigeria Cashew Exporters Association (NCEA), Mr. Tola Fasheru, explained that the roads to Lagos ports were partly responsible for the challenges faced by exporters in early part of 2019.
He noted that stifling red tape, lack of synergy among the port operators and corruption hampered export processes.
Fasheru lamented that some cashew exporters had defaulted to supply foreign buyers because of the challenges.