Nigeria’s Commodity Exchange recently commissioned cashew nuts processing and warehousing facilities at Egume/Ochaja, Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State to minimise losses incurred as a result of delayed export of the crop.
The facilities are to serve as the point for stacking, weighing, and evacuation of cashew nuts from Niger, Edo, Benue, Kwara, and Kogi States for export.
Nigeria has about 600,000 surviving cashew trees spread across the country, in all parts of the country. Currently, 75 per cent to 80 per cent of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria are exported, as only very few companies are involved in the local processing of the produce. The industry is also a vibrant employer, providing about 600,000 jobs and an annual trade worth N24 billion. The cashew industry is a major contributor to the nation’s non-oil GDP.
The government’s liberalization policy on commodity crops has impacted significantly on the prices and demand for raw cashew nuts in the recent past. The role of local buying agents in the supply chain did not only increase the supply of the product but also healthy competition.
Also is the increase in holding capacity of the product through the expansion of warehouses by the Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX). The NCX commissioned 12 delivery warehouses in 2020. These additional warehouses spread across the six geopolitical zones have a combined capacity of more than 26,000 metric tonnes.
Despite the above, several factors hinder Nigeria from achieving its full potential in the cashew sector.
Unekwuojo Edime, president of Cashew Farmers Aggregators and Processors of Nigeria, said a major factor impeding the production of cashew in the country is the lack of a domestic market.
He said Nigeria’s cashew has low patronage at home and high demand abroad. He said the crop’s consumption at home is not big enough to compensate farmers for their investment, because the quality specification of the cashew in Nigeria does not meet the export requirement.