The Federal Government’s determination to scale up cashew production to 500, 000 tonnes with enhancement of 600kg per hectare, by 2023, has received a boost with the donation of 20 hectares of land in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by former Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan-Ali.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono speaking at the cashew stakeholders/export summit organized by Association of Cashew Farmers, Aggregators and Processors of Nigeria (ACFAP), in Abuja, noted that cashew production is a money spinner which must not be taken for granted.
Represented by the Director, Federal Department, Karima Babaginda, he said over time, Nigeria earned about $830 million which translates to N2.4 billion between 2015-2017 in foreign exchange from the exportation of cashews. In 2017, Nigeria was able to produce 220, 000 metric tonnes of cashews which grew 350, 000 metric tonnes in 2019.
“The current national production is estimated at about 350, 000 metric tonnes with an average yield of about 600kg per hectare as against global of 1200kg per hectare Nigeria has a lot of work to do to bridge that gap.
“The overall goal of the cashew value chain is to promote policies, human capacity and technology for boosting the potential of cashew industry. This will among others raise production from the current to over 500, 000 tonnes in 2023 with enhancement of 600kg per hectare to an average of 800 to 1000.”
For Ali, who is the patron of ACFAP, noted that, “my personal contribution is to provide 20 hectares of land for farmers to plant cashew. With this, the nation will have much better input of cashew.”
President of ACFAP, Unekwuojo Edime, said the summit was oraginsed to brainstorm on how boost cashew production among merchants, processors, and exporters of raw cashew nuts and to espouse other notable product in line that can be derived from the cashew value chain like cashew oil, cashew jam, cashew juice, cashew jin, cashew brandy, cashew bread and cashew ethanol.
He revealed that, “Nigeria currently get little from enormous potential in cashew as an economic growth driver and as an economic growth driver and as a veritable tool for job creation and livelihood improvement.
“Therefore, there is the need to look into the future with a sense of urgency and patriotism. There is also the urgent need for Nigeria to brace up, wake up and understand that we need to start earning significantly from the cashew industry through export and we must not subject our farmers to the dictates of others.”