USDA, others promote value addition in driving Nigeria’s cashew export to $4bn
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s West Africa PRO-Cashew and African Cashew Alliance (ACA) are working on increasing Nigeria’s cashew production to 500,000 metric tons yearly to pull at least $4billion export revenue from the commodity.
Jean Francois Guay, chief of party, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) while speaking during the maiden policy dialogue with cashew stakeholders in Lagos, noted that Nigeria is the second largest cashew producer and exporter, in West Africa with potential to increase exports if appropriate measures are taken to increase productivity, quality and value addition.
According to him, there is need to develop the cashew value chains and strengthening its integration into global markets.
He added that the industry has big potential to generate inclusive rural employment through farming and industrialization, thereby contributing to poverty reduction.
He maintained that the cashew value chain was stymied by several constraints, especially processing, calling for more efforts to improve governance of the cashew value chain and enhance the competitiveness and inclusiveness of small-scale farmers.
Also speaking, Shakti Pal, regional policy expert, Cashew Value Chain, Procashew, observed that the sector needed restructuring to ensure proper earnings for local farmers and traders.
According to him, the potential for cashew was very large due to the high demand in the market. He reiterated that there were positive signals that Nigeria could explore more opportunities in the global market to accelerate export of cashew.
To enter this market, he said measures must be taken to ensure quality of export products.
Olorunfemi Toyin, country representative, Nigeria, West Africa PRO-Cashew, explained that the PRO-Cashew project began in Nigeria this year with the commissioning of a baseline survey to identify the challenges in the Cashew sector.
Similarly, he said additional research was conducted to gain a better understanding of the Nigeria Cashew Chain.
The goal of the effort, he maintained was to inform the deployment of activities and efficient methodologies that will address the existing gaps in the a cashew sector, especially since the PRO-Cashew project seeks to boost the competitiveness of West African cashew producers by improving efficiency and quality in trade and production.
Similarly, Roland Oroh, chairman, National Cashew Steering Committee said noted Development Gateway (DG) is partnering with CNFA under the USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew project to develop the Cashew-IN data collection and analysis platform.
The project, according to him, has identified gaps in the data collection, storage, usage and dissemination related to the cashew sector in all five of the implementing countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Nigeria).
The project, he continued is now working to address these gaps through a multi-country cashew data management system (Cashew-IN) that will facilitate access to and use of data to improve decision-making for policymakers, farmers, and the private sector.
The ultimate goal, he added was s to generate better market outcomes for cashew nuts in these countries.
Oroh, posited that there was no al organized way of aggregating cashew sector data, even though large amounts of data reside in public and private sector organizations and institutions with a mandate to work on the research, production, and trade in cashew products.
Currently, he observed that institutions such as the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN); the Federal Ministry of Agriculture; the Federal Ministry of Industry; Trade and Investment (FMITI); Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC); Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); and the Nigeria Agribusiness Register (NAR) all have bits and pieces of cashew data. All data, he stressed have to be aggregated, and presented in a way that gives value to the different users of the data.
He said the plan is to establish a single data platform which will provide information to all categories of users.