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Cambodia’s cashew challenges Nigeria’s export

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Vietnam, a major Nigeria cashew importer, now imports more from Cambodia.

Cambodia’s cashew production has increased significantly over the years, and even more as the season began making it the world’s fastest-growing producer of cashew nuts, and this poses a threat to Africa, and particularly Nigeria’s cashew exports in 2023, which has seen its cashew nut output grow by only a small percentage over time. According to the Cambodia Cashew Association, exports will increase to over 900,000 metric tons this year from over 670,000 tons last year. Farmers believe that a rise in output in Cambodia will reduce Nigeria’s product supply. This is because Vietnam, a significant market for Nigeria’s cashews, has been steadily increasing its imports from Cambodia due to the quality and proximity of the product.

Tola Faseru, President of the African Cashew Alliance, commented on the season, noting that Cambodia anticipates significant growth in its cashew production in 2023, which would offset the costs of the nuts on the world market this year. Faseru asserts that as a result of steady increases in cashew production, the country is becoming a challenge to the cashew exports of Africa and Nigeria. He said this would affect the demand for cashews in Nigeria and Africa because Vietnam, the world’s largest commodity buyer, is expanding its cashew inflows from its neighborhood, Cambodia.

Cambodia’s cashew production has increased five-fold in the past 10 years.

Similar to the price of other commodities, cashew nuts are determined by market forces such as the level of global production, the quantity available, the level of demand, and the quality of the output. According to the statistics provided by the Vietnam Trade Office, Vietnam imported Cambodia cashew nuts with a value of $1.07 billion in 2022, and this year’s total is anticipated to be even higher. According to statistics from the African Cashew Alliance, Cambodia’s cashew production has increased five-fold in just 10 years, and now only Cote d’Ivoire produces more nuts in Africa than Cambodia.

Moreover, experts revealed that Cambodia’s tremendous cashew growth could be attributed to three factors: the access to ls large favorable land for cashew with productive farming practices; the utilization of high-yield varieties, as well as a readily accessible and near buyers in Vietnam. CEO of Hastom Nigeria, Debo Thomas, provided more details by saying that Vietnam’s demand for cashew nuts from Nigeria is threatened by consistent annual increases in production in Cambodia. He noted that farmer demand has been lesser since the season began in Nigeria a few weeks ago, suggesting that this could significantly influence the price and the export, particularly this year when their Cambodia production is predicted to reach over a million tonnes.

Cashew output is expected to rise in Nigeria with the good weather.

The Nigerian Cashew Association reports that the selling cost of dried cashew nuts in Lagos is N620,000 per metric ton, and the export price is around $1,200. At the entrance to the farm, one kilo of cashew nuts can be purchased for N550. In addition, the cashew organization predicted that 2023 would see a rise in Nigeria’s cashew output as a result of favorable climate conditions. According to Ojo Ajanaku, the Cashew Association of Nigeria President, the harvest looks promising this year and is estimated to grow.

However, persistent shortages of fuel and naira are already having a detrimental effect on the season for farmers. According to Bode Ademola, who is a cashew businessman in Ogbomosho, the current shortage of naira is making it challenging to buy cashew at the moment because the majority of farmers don’t have bank accounts and prefer to conduct business in cash. They are having trouble gathering enough nuts for export since they cannot obtain the necessary funds. Ademola pointed out that the lack of fuel is also contributing to the severity of the problem.

Nigeria is the fourth largest African cashew grower and sixth in the world.

With an annual production estimate of 240,000 metric tons of cashew nuts, Nigeria is the fourth largest cashew nut grower in Africa and the sixth worldwide. The National Bureau of Statistics reports that during the first 9 months of 2022, Nigeria generated N77.82 billion through cashew nut exports, with 70% of the total nuts sold during that time going to Vietnam. In recent years, cashew has emerged as a valuable cash crop in Nigeria, and the country’s government has made it a priority crop to increase revenue and revitalize the economy. Nigeria farmers typically harvest cashews between the months of February and June, but the crop is stocked and exported throughout the year.

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