By Emmanuel Elebeke with agency report
The National Cashew Association of Nigeria, NCAN, has said that Cashew export generated $253 million (about N50.4billion) in foreign exchange for the country in 2015.
President of the association, Tola Faseru, who disclosed this, said that the nation produces about 160,000 metric tonnes of cashew yearly, during the cashew planting season.
Faseru said the target is to move production to 500,000 tonnes by 2020, and also be able to develop a processing capacity of 70 per cent which is about 350,000 metric tonnes, noting that Nigeria is the sixth largest cashew producer in the world after Ivory Coast, India, Vietnam, Tanzania and Guinea Bissau.
He said cashew is currently grown in over 21 states of the federation, including Ebonyi, Kogi, Kwara, Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Cross River, Edo, Nassarawa, Benue, Taraba, Ogun, Oyo, Osun , Ondo, Ekiti, Delta, Akwa Ibom , FCT and Niger, adding that it can be grown in all parts of the country.
According to him, cashew is one of the 13 non-oil Strategic Export Products (NSEPs), to be used to diversify the economy under the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.
He expressed satisfaction with the promptness of implementation of the first phase of the four-year cashew development road map in Osun state, which is to scale up its production.