Cashew export can generate $4.5bn annually, says NEPC

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Nigeria can generate 4.5 billion dollars annually from cashew exportation, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, has said.

Awolowo announced this in a statement by Joe Itah, Head, Corporate Communications of the council, in Abuja on Tuesday.

Awolowo, who said this at a facility visit to the Valency Cashew Processing Limited, urged the company  to sustain its production capacity and focus more on value-addition for the product.

“In view (of the need) to scale up production and processing of cashew for exports for more foreign exchange for the country, I implore the company to pay attention to quality standard and value-addition of cashew for exports.

“This is because the commodity commands a global export value of over 4.5 billion dollars annually, which Nigeria should aim to grab a fair market share,’’ Awolowo said.

He said the visit was to identify areas of intervention on ways to develop and promote cashew as a major export product of the Commodity Export Company at Ibafo, Ogun.

Awolowo urged the management of the company to support the growth of commodity exports by ramping up production of cashew.

He said that as at 2015, Nigeria produced a mere 160,000 tonnes of the nuts worth 253 million dollars for exports.

According to him, currently the larger quantity of the  production capacity is Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) whereas processing even 50 per cent of same volume will create about 9,000 jobs.

Awolowo explained that cashew was one of the 13 National Strategic Export Products chosen by Federal Government under Category B of Zero Oil Plan.

He added that it was one of the strategies highlighted in the recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to emancipate Nigeria from dependence on single commodity for survival.

He expressed confidence that some degree of palliation would come the way of exporters when implementation of the new Export Expansion Grant scheme commenced.

Basba-Nand Balodi ,  Managing Director of  the company, decried the lack of funds for acquisition of modern processing machines and inadequate export incentives.

Balodi said the others were the dearth of infrastructure, particularly power and roads which ultimately increased cost of doing business, making the product less competitive.

He acknowledged the council’s role in bolstering the non-oil export economic sector through continuous engagements and interventions on proactive programmes that would usher best practices and promote the ease of doing business.

Balodi called for the creation of a governing council for cashew sector under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.