NIGERIA – Nigerian cashew producers are working on a four-year plan with the ultimate goal of increasing land dedicated to cultivating the crop and to increase exports threefold to 500,000 tons a year.

With about 160,000 hectares of land producing about 150,000 tons a year, farmers are seeking to bring an additional 340,000 hectares into cultivation to achieve industry targets, the President of the Nigerian Cashew Association (which groups farmers and traders), Tola Fasheru, said in an interview in Lagos.

“That should raise annual export income from the product to at least $650 million from the $253 million earned in 2015,” he said.

Nigeria exports more than 80 per cent of its cashew output, mostly as raw kernels, with about 60 per cent of last year’s shipments going to Vietnam, according to the cashew association.

“Virtually all the states in the country have the potential to grow cashew. Our sights are even beyond the 2020 target,” Fasheru said, as they seek to make cashew one of the country’s biggest exports, he added.

Cashew is among 13 products identified by President Muhammadu Buhari’s government under its national strategic plan to expand agricultural export income and end the economic woes that made 2016 likely the first year of growth contraction since 1991 following the collapse of the price of oil, the country’s main export.

January 19, 2017;