As Nigeria looks to diversify its economy in the face of falling global oil prices, the country’s cashew nut lobby is offering some ideas for business opportunities.
The country needs a national cashew seed program, disease-resistant cashew seedlings, rejuvenated old cashew farms and capacity for farmers to add value to the agricultural, said Sotonye Anga, spokesman for the National Cashew Association of Nigeria.
With support and encouragement from regulators, the crop could generate 1 trillion naira ($5 billion) in the next 10 years, Anga said at an export business luncheon, VenturesAfrica reports.
Africa produces more than 40 percent of the world’s cashew nuts — 2.6 million tonnes — mainly from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and recently Mali, Anga said.
Nigeria’s contribution is 144,000 tonnes. Cashew prices have gone up by 266.7 percent in the last nine years. according to the report. The crop is a major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.
Nigeria needs to increase cashew processing and production — global demand for the crop is rising, VenturesAfrica reports.
The country needs to increase production — now at 400-to-600 kilograms per hectare to 1000-to-1500 kilograms per hectare, Anga said.
Cashews are a drought-resistant crop. Products from cashews include oil, liquor, vinegar, juice, jam, beverages, pickle, chutney and candied products, according to scientific research publisher Medwell Journals. Cashew nut shells can also be monetized. And the pressed kernel cake from the oil-extraction process is suitable for use in food.