(Ecofin Agency) – Nigeria’s inability to process cashew nuts in significant quantities for export resulted in the loss of $1.4 billion in 2016. Data from the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) showed that the country exported a total of 160,000 metic tons of cashew valued at $300 million in 2016.
According to the Vice president, Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Emmanuel Ijewere, about 90% ($270 million) of cashew exports in 2016 were unprocessed.
“The cashew industry is a massive industry that is waiting to be tapped. Processing is where the money really is but we process very little for export. A ton of processed cashew, as we speak, is sold for $12,000 while a ton of raw cashew is $1,200. You can see the difference is massive,” Anga Sotonye, an executive member of the National Cashew Association and the chief executive officer, Universal Quest Limited, told Business Day.
Sotonye urged the government to learn from Ivory Coast and put in place incentives to attract investment and promote processing in the cashew industry. “With processing of cashew nuts, the government will create massive jobs for the unemployed youths and generate a lot of revenue,” he added.
Nigeria is the fourth largest producer of cashew in Africa and the sixth in the world with an output of 160,000 metric tons per year. A production which is expected to reach 500,000 metric tons by 2020. The main export destinations for the crop are Europe, India and the United States.