The National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) says boosting cashew exports would assist in diversifying the nation’s economy.
NCAN’s Secretary-General, Mr Sotonye Anga, said in Lagos that there was the need for cashew-friendly policies and access to finance, to harness the lucrative potentials in the sector.
“If we boost the cashew sector, its export will help diversify the Nigerian economy. It will help reduce the pressure on the Naira and bring in more foreign exchange.
“We have to also make access to finance easier for the cashew sector. If access to funds is easy for the sector, we will be able to expand and boost our capacity.
“The government need to make policies that are pro- cashew. We need policies that will grow and boost the cashew sector because it is a cash crop. We can create a big industry from the cashew sector by improving its value-chain.
“If the sector is encouraged, it will create more jobs , income for the country and foreign exchange for the country. Every by-product of cashew is for the export market and the market is big. By encouraging the cashew sector, we will help the Central Bank solve the problem of the Naira’s fall,” Anga said.
According to the association secretary, 90 per cent of cashew cultivated in Nigeria is exported in its raw form causing the sector to incur losses in every export, because we do not get enough value for the crop as lucrative as it is.
When we export raw cashews, we are also exporting our jobs and that is why the government and other relevant stakeholders must provide an enabling environment, in order to promote the sector to its highest potentials.
“In Nigeria, we produce 260,000 metric tonnes of cashew annually, and of this huge volume 90 per cent is exported raw, causing us so much loss.
“We are still lagging behind in terms of processing, less than 10 per cent of the cashew nut is processed in Nigeria. The government has to be focused, in order to boost cashew production to 30 or 50 per cent at least.
“The targets have to be measurable and these things are achievable if we provide the enabling environment. We have to incentivize the cashew sector in Nigeria,” he said.
Anga added: “If the government decides to create a N30 to N200 billion cashew development fund within five years, the sector will transform into one of the biggest economic contributors in Nigeria.
“This investment will create one of the most versatile income streams that will bring great pride to the country. Everything cashew is for export. The cashew oil, kernel, apple and nuts are exportable”.