By Franklin Alli
NATIONAL Cashew As-sociation of Nigeria, NCAN, has said that Nigerian cashew has grown in volume and appreciated in value in the last six years, ranking as one of the highest priced commodities at the international market.
In a communique issued at the end of the association’s annual general meeting, on September 12, 2017, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, NCAN President, Babatola Faseru, said: “Nigerian Cashew production was 100,000 tonnes per annum in 2011, while in 2017; it has grown to 175,000 tonnes (an increase of 43 percent) with a market value of $1,800 per tonne as against $300 per tonne. This represented 83 percent rise.
“Nigerian cashew quality now ranks high in the world, as the produce is subjected to proper drying and packing into jute bags before export. Our work has created prosperity for Cashew farmers, traders, exporters, processors and other actors across the Cashew Value Chain,” he said.
According to him, the association’s leadership has worked hard over the years and brought the cashew crop from a place of obscurity to limelight and now cashew has gained national prominence and recognition by both the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria.
Consequently, he said that the crop has earned the status of “a transformational crop by the Ministry of Agriculture; one of the strategic commodities with which to diversify the nation’s economy from oil by the Federal Ministry of Trade.”
He also attributed the improvement in the performance of cashew production and export to government’s policy and incentives. “The government, towards the end of 2016, had embarked on an aggressive investment to boost the agricultural sector.
Farmers were encouraged to plant improved cashew seedlings with higher yields; along with other initiatives by the Federal Government that targeted farmers with fertilizers and other materials,” he said.