With $252m Revenue in 2022, FG Moves to De-risk Cashew Value-chain to Boost Production, Export

James Emejo in Abuja

The federal government has taken immediate steps to maximise and harness the full economic potential inherent in cashew export.

The Executive Director/Chief Executive, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Dr. Ezra Yakusak, said even though Raw Cashew Nut (RCN) emerged as the 5th leading non-oil exportable product valued at $252 million, and accounted for 5.24 per cent of the country’s non-oil export portfolio in 2022, the potential of the sector remained largely under-developed.

Speaking at the launch of the Organic Cashew Certification Programme for Exports, organised by the council in collaboration with NICERT, Valency Limited and PRO-Cashew in Abuja, he said Nigeria remained the 4th leading producer of raw cashew nuts in Africa with about 19 producing states “But sadly, we have not maximized and harnessed the full economic potential inherent in cashew export.”

The NEPC boss said the country’s cashew export trade was largely hampered by non-adherence to food safety standards, lack of traceability, low yield per hectare, poor practices, ageing trees among others.

He stressed that most of the cashew exports are in primary form adding that “export of processed cashew kernel is very low and accounts for about 16 per cent of cashew export”, and mostly the conventional rather than organic certified cashew.

Yakusak said that given the scenario, the council deemed it necessary to collaborate and chart a pathway with deliberate and planned activities to address the issues plaguing the Nigerian cashew sector.

He said, “That is why this initiative sponsored by the PRO-Cashew through CNFA which is a five-year project funded by the USDA is timely and welcomed. The aim of this project is to support the Nigeria cashew sector and increase cashew productivity and efficiency, improve crop quality, and improve harvest and post-harvest techniques among others.”

He further assured that a careful and faithful implementation of the project would facilitate a gradual shift from conventional cashew to organic cashew, whose export guarantees niche market and premium pricing.

He said, “It will also increase productivity, improve harvest and post-harvest practices, ensure adherence to best practices, ensure traceability, and enhance competitiveness.

“The council is therefore committed to this project and ready to provide the necessary support to ensure its effective implementation.”

According to him, NEPC had previously undertaken various technical sessions, provision of inputs and other intervention materials across the cashew-producing states, which are designed to improve the know-how of value chain actors.

Similarly, under the Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) scheme, the council trained 200 cashew farmers in Oyo and Kogi States, and fully paid for the implementation of organic certification for 100 cashew farms.

He added that repositioning the commodity sector would attain its rightful position and become a major contributor to the nation’s export earnings and GDP.

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