Nigeria’s cashew exports have been on the rise, with the country earning $250 million from cashew nut exports in 2022, as revealed by Dr. Mohammad Mahood Abubakar, minister of agriculture and rural development. Cashew nuts in shells accounted for 29.11 percent of all agricultural exports in the second quarter of 2022, per data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Dr Abubakar, represented by Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, made the announcement during the lunch of the Nigeria Cashew Day and Cashew Season flag-off ceremony, themed “Industrializing the Nigeria Cashew Sector through Inclusive Policies.”
He voiced concern that only approximately 10% of the 250,000MT of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria yearly were being processed locally. Dr. Abubakar estimates that by 2023, Nigerian farmers will have earned over $500 million from the sale of cashew nuts, which by the end of 2022 generated over $250 million and accounted for approximately 10 percent of the country’s agricultural export. Dr. Abubakar urges farmers to maintain their cooperative spirit and rhythmic harmony in this regard.
FG is working to boost cashew as part of its ISS.
Further, he argued that harmonizing is the only way to make substantial headway towards achieving sustainable development in the cashew industry. Also, in helping the current administration complete its objective to diversify the economy. It’s worth noting that Nigeria’s cashew crop has become increasingly valuable as an export commodity since the 1990s. According to the 2022 Export Data, cashew is expected to contribute more than 10% of GDP, making it a major non-oil export contributor for the country.
Cashew is currently cultivated in over 27 states in Nigeria in the Federal capital territory and has greater potential for increased production than any of its contemporary like cocoa and palm oil. As a result of this success, it is now widely considered a viable cash crop in the country. Through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is working to boost cashew as part of its Import Substitution Strategy.
Nigeria is the continent’s fifth-largest cashew producer.
According to Dr. Abubakar, just about 10% of the 250,000MT of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria are processed before being sold to cashew buying agents for export. While some cashew were eaten raw, the majority were wasted because of a lack of infrastructure for processing cashew-based products including cashew juice, jam, and ice cream. This indicates that substantial quantities of cashew are being shipped overseas. In his speech, Ojo Joseph Ajanaku, president of the Nigerian Cashew Association (NCAN), said that Nigeria is the continent’s fifth-largest cashew producer, behind the Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Ajanaku stated that the cashew market increased and grew consistently by 11% over the past three years. When this is taken into account, it is clear that the subsector has the potential to propel the country’s overall revenue generation, job creation, and economic diversification. Edo State Governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki, speaking through the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr. Stephen Idehenre, expressed optimism that the event would bring in new investment, spread useful information, and help bring the cashew industry into greater harmony, all to the benefit of the state’s economy.
150,000 cashew seedlings would be distributed to farmers in Edo.
He further emphasized the necessity of policies in fostering effective economic growth and development citing an example of the state collaboration in the private sector to grow the oil Palm and cassava value chains. According to the state governor, a total of 62,500 hectares have been allocated to nine investors in this respect. Access for farmers is also being made easier in an effort to increase output. In 2023, the state plans to give out 40,000 cocoa seedlings to cocoa farmers. He also guaranteed the distribution of 150,000 cashew seedlings through a partnership with PRO- cashew, a USDA-funded project being carried out by nurturing new frontiers in Agriculture.