Cashew Nuts: Nigeria to attain 500,000 metric tons in 4 years
Nigeria will attain 500,000 metric tons production of cashew nuts within four years using mechanised farming and product standardisation plan being put in place by the government and private investors.
Mr Stephen Ahiaba, Managing Director, St. Ahiaba Global Resources, made the disclosure at a meeting of Kogi Agricultural Vision Group (AVG) and the Agricultural Innovative Group (AIG) on Tuesday in Lokoja.
Ahiaba said at the meeting organised by organised Synergos Nigeria that the country’s small holder farmers were currently producing 60,000 metric tons annually.
He said that the level was going to change with the planned mechanisation and market information available to the farmers now.
“With the market information and negotiation done between 2014 and 2016, we need to upscale production now that agriculture is business if mechanised.
“This will increase production of cashew nuts to 500,000 metric tons in the next four years,’’ he said.
He said that his company in partnership with Technoserve, an international NGO on cashew value chain and the Kogi Government, had introduced Cashew Enhancement Project to build the capacity of cashew farmers.
The project, according to him, aims to impact the inputs, including land development, production, post-harvest handling, standardisation, processing and marketing to help rural farmers attain the best agronomical practices.
Ahiaba said that the project had so far impacted the cashew value chain with the current cashew price, adding: “Cashew nuts price has grown from average of N7,000 per bag in 2014 to N50,000 in 2017’’.
He said the project also aimed to produce for export as the commodity was now a major source of foreign exchange in many countries with high quality and optimal production.
According to him, India is doing over 700,000 metric tons annually, while Brazil with 500,000 metric tons has developed what is called Brazilian Zobo, a variety higher than what we have here.
“Mozambique is doing above 400,000 metric tons, while Ghana is slightly above 300,000.
“So, Nigeria has to upscale production. We have the resources to do so and we are going to do so,’’ he said.
Contributing, Mr Bob Achanya, Director-General, Kogi Bureau of Public Private Partnership (BPPP), said the state government would partner with private initiatives in its effort to make agriculture business to enhance farmers’ welfare.
Mr Victor Adejoh of Synergos Nigeria said the company under the aegis of State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) with the AVG and the (AIG) was looking forward to more collaboration for enhanced agricultural production.