The National Cashew Association of Nigeria says that Nigeria earned N14 billion from exporting raw cashew in the last one year.
It said that the earnings could increase if the Federal Government and subnational levels invested in the sector and supported local processing of cashew.
Its President, Prince Ojo Ajanaku, stated this during a chat with journalists ahead of the 16th edition of the Cashew Conference this month.
He said, “We hope to grow to over a million metric tonnes in the next four or five years. Nigeria is presently doing more of export of raw cashew nuts because we don’t process more of it. It is generally a problem in Africa, not only in Nigeria.
“We are not processing, but we are exporting raw cashew nuts, which gives us a lot of income when we talk about foreign earnings. This is second to sesame seed, when you talk about foreign earning generations. We got about 14 billion naira in export. We only had challenges in exporting during the time of Apapa gridlock.”
Ajanaku added that the sector has the capacity to produce over one million metric tonnes in the next five years if the government and organisations can invest in the sector.
His words, “This is happening in Nigeria for the first time. This is the 16th edition. We want to harmonise the cashew sector and use the conference to influence policies. Though the government is trying its best to support the cashew sector in Nigeria, we need to ask for more, because we have the potential to produce more than what we are producing at the moment.
“Though the statistics we have cannot be said to be accurate, we are presently producing about 350,000 metric tonnes of cashew per annum. However, with the cooperation we have gotten from ministries, departments and agencies, for the seedlings we have distributed for the past years, we are believing that in the coming harvest, we will be meeting over 400, 000 metric tonnes.”