NIGERIA – Nigeria’s cashew production has increased from about 90,000 metric tonnes in 2011 to 220,000 metric tonnes valued at US$402 million at the end of 2017, reported the Vanguard.

Despite challenges relating to unfavourable climate, the cashew industry has managed to improve, the figures showing production more than doubled since 2011.

According to Tola Faseru, the National President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria, NCAN earnings in 2011 were about US$48 to US$50 million annually, showing increased value along the entire cashew chain.

“In 2011, we were talking of something in the region of between US$300 and US$500 per ton.

Today, we are talking about US$1800 and we have explored an upward trend in the marketability and acceptability of the Nigerian cashew across the world,” said Tola.

Efforts to revive the industry has not only benefited the Nigerian economy but has also created value for farmers since they have been able to sell their raw materials at a reliable and competitive price.

He noted that growth in the sector gives credit to sensitizations and trainings given to local farmers.

Trainings involved best storage and agricultural practices including proper harvesting for both high yield and quality.

With improved drying techniques for cashews, farmers are able to handle the product professionally, in the long run adding value across the cashew production chain.

“Farmers are able to dry cashew properly; most importantly, they are able to package it well.

When we came in, cashew nuts were usually packaged in polythene bags and we said this will kill the quality because the cashew will not have proper air to breathe because it will get heated up and what will happen is for the cashew to spoil,” he added.

To improve quality, the association introduced use of jute bags which give way for air to flow in and out.