Nigeria is currently raking in about $300 million annually from cashew nut as revenue in her 14th globally ranked position as against $3 billion made annually by Vietnam from the product, cashew stakeholders have revealed. Besides, the country’s production capacity oscillates between 260,000 and 270,000 tonnes, coming behind Côte d’Ivoire’s cashew production capacity, which is in excess of 625,000 tonnes. However, amid the gap, cashew stakeholders are brainstorming on path Nigeria can cleavage to achieve her quest of diversifying the economy from oil to non-oil sector. At a virtual event session on cashew organised by Afex Commodities Exchange Limited, entitled, “unlocking Nigeria’s cashew nut potential,” New Telegraph gathered from the session various hindrances, bottlenecks inhibiting Nigeria from reaping maximally from cashew nut like other nations.
Mr. David Ibidapo of Afex Commodities Exchange underscored the importance of building Nigeria’s economy by diversifying the economy from oil to non-oil sector. “We can’t build economy on crude oil. We can leverage eco-nomic growth on agriculture given its potential and for that to happen, the country has to look at sectors the country has comparative advantage on and cashew nut is one of them,” he said.
Ibidapo noted that Nigeria was facing difficulty in bringing to bear her potential in cashew nut production because it has failed in boosting demand for local production. According to him, the value addition in the cashew nut production plays strategic role, an aspect Nigeria is not utilising maximally at the moment. “Cashew nut is produced globally at 3.96 million metric tonnes. Nigeria ranks 14th in the world. Majority of cash nut is produced in Africa with Côte d’Ivoire’s topping chart. “More importantly, value addition in cashew sector holds significant potential in contributing to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through poverty reduction and job creation,” he said.
He said Nigeria could change her narrative for better in cashew nut production by upping her game in the value chain and adding proceeding and value addition as against exporting quantum of her cashew nut. Ibidapo listed some steps to be taken to enhance Nigeria production rating in cashew nut to include value addition by processing, creation of enebling environment; provision of adequate infrastructure and provision of subsidy and credits especially to small holder cashew farmers. In his contribution Dr. Babatola Faseru said more subsidiary industries will spring up from had Nigeria gave cash nut production desired attention. “You can imagine the number of industries it would have been created. You can imagine volume of jobs our potential could create if value addition is put into it. It’s one commodity the country stand to benefit from.
“I remember in 2013, Federal Government added cashew as one of the items on Agriculture Transformation Programme. Today, cashew is also one of the products listed by government for diversification in realising mandate of diversifying the economy from oil to nonoil,” he said. In his contribution, Mr. Hemense Orka noted that the quality of Nigeria’s cashew nut was quite strong and that the country is gifted with one of the best cashew nuts.