NIGERIA – The federal government of Nigeria has unveiled plans of setting up cashew processing plants in four states in the country in a bid to add value to the commodity and increase revenues.

According to a News Agency of Nigeria report, Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the processing plants are also aimed to reduce post-harvest losses and as well as increase exports of the commodity.

Mr Ogbeh unveiled that the country losses an estimated 8 million tonnes of cashew fruits annually as a result of lack of proper financing in the sector.

“The challenge is usually access to credit because a good processing cashew line will cost you about two million dollars to do something like 10 to 20 tonnes a day.

We are targeting that to set up at least one plant each in Enugu and Benue, two plants each in Kogi and Oyo state, these are the leading cashew producers now,” he said

He added that the long term objective of the initiative is to ensure that the country increases export of processed products as opposed to the bulk of unprocessed raw nuts.  

“We want to assure the cashew stakeholders that in our next level activities, we intend to stop the export of raw nuts and to process all our cashews here and we hope to have one or two plants ready before next year.

We are talking with the Brazilians now. We want to bring in machines from Brazil to process the cashew fruits into juice which has a high content of vitamin c.

“It is very good for the health because we are currently wasting an estimated eight million tonnes of cashew fruits annually, throwing them away,” he explained.

Additionally, gridlock and inefficiency at some ports in the country have resulted into delayed shipment of 50,000 tons of cashew nuts valued at US$300 million meant for exports, a report by Bloomberg reveals.

As Africa’s sixth largest cashew producer, Nigeria has also embarked on initiatives in a bid to raise its annual production to 500,000 tons by 2023, according to a five-year strategic plan released in 2018 by the National Cashew Association of Nigeria.

However, according to Dr Tunde Arosanyin, the National Coordinator, Commodity Association of Nigeria, Nigeria locally processes about 10% of the cashew nuts produced while the remaining 90% is exported into the international market at low price.