The National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) on Thursday said that cashew export could generate one trillion naira in the next 10 years if properly funded, VON reports.
The National Publicity Secretary of NCAN, Mr Sotonye Anga, said this in Lagos at a business luncheon on the nation’s multi-billion naira cashew industry.
“As it is, the cashew sector in Nigeria will require financing to the tune of N50 billion to enable it boost production and in return generate a turnover of one trillion naira in 10 years.
“In the 2015 cashew season, we hope to contribute about N42 billion to the Nigerian economy; that is why we are saying government needs to support the sector.
“We wish that cashew seedlings be included in the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda,” Anga said.
He also urged the Federal Government to establish a National Cashew Seed Programme to consolidate the country’s position in the global cashew industry.
Anga said that Nigeria was presently rated among the top five cashew producing nations in the world, adding that there was need for government’s financial intervention.
The NCAN spokesman said that improved farm level productivity would be achieved by planting improved disease resistant and high yielding cashew seedlings.
He said the nation should start looking at the “cash’’ in cashew, saying “we should look from petrol dollar to cashew dollars because cashew has grown to become a winner crop in Nigeria.’’
“Our annual production of raw cashew stands at 144,000 tons.
“ We should increase our national average in terms of yield per hectare which is around 400 to 600 kg per hectare.
“ We should increase this to at least 1,000 to 1,500kg per hectare through rejuvenation of old cashew farms and capacity building for cashew farmers,’’ he said.
Anga called for value addition to the cashew being exported, saying “when our raw cashew is exported, jobs for Nigerians are exported too.’’
The Chairman at the meeting and member of the Nigerian Institute of Export, Mr Yusuf Nurudeen, highlighted the potentials in cashew production.
“The cashew nut and kernel have a lot of potentials.
“ The commodity that is of commercial importance is the nut which contains 47 per cent of fat, 21 per cent protein and 22per cent carbohydrate.
“It also contains about six vitamins, especially thiamine. The nut contains essential amino acids and yields of 6000 calories compared to 3600 from cereals, among others,” he said.
Nurudeen said that with the dwindling price of oil globally, cashew was a blessing for non-oil export sector of the economy.
Mr Titi Olukayode, the Chief Executive Officer of Export Platform and convener of the meeting, said he was delighted that Nigerians had begun to see the potentials embedded in cashew industry.
He said that subsequent meetings would focus on other non-oil products for export during the year.
The meeting was attended by cashew farmers, processors, exporters and representatives of financial institutions.