By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja with Agency Report
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has said Nigeria is set to supply 130,000 tonnes of roasted cashew nuts to the Walmart Super Market chain in the United States of America. He said the 130,000 cashew is valued at $7 billion.
Chief Ogbeh said the US firm came to Nigeria to request for 130,000 tonnes of roasted cashew nuts and their demand is 130,000 tonnes of cashew nuts per annum, with a total value of $7 billion. “We are in conversations with Walmart, the biggest supermarket chain in the US. They came here and asked us to roast cashew nuts for them.
“What Nigeria currently does is ship the nuts to Vietnam, which in turn roasts and sell to the US. This year, we are going to create six cashew processing factories in Nigeria, each to be cited in Enugu, Imo, Benue, Kogi, Kwara and Oyo states. These are the cashew belts for now. These options are coming now because Nigeria is beginning to focus on non-oil export.”
Meanwhile, a recent data from the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) shows that Nigeria exported a total of 160,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew valued at $300 million in 2016. This figure was far behind what farmers and exporters could have earned assuming there are processing factories to process cashew nuts for export.
Cashew grows very well in virtually all agro-ecological zones including the semi-arid areas but with high concentration in the middle belt areas in smallholder farms and plantations and provide livelihood for over 300,000 families and has created 600,000 jobs in the country. Cashew production comes from over 28 states, including Kogi, Kwara, Oyo, Edo, Ondo, Benue and Cross River, among others.
To meet the Walmart’s demand, stakeholders said that government must ensure that farmers embark on massive production of cashew and take value addition extremely serious. They said government should also ensure that smuggling activities on the nation’s land borders are controlled.
The stakeholders hinted that over 30 per cent of cashew nuts produced in Nigeria annually are smuggled across the border as a result of price discrepancy in cashew moved into the global market by other countries like Benin Republic, as the crop fetches a premium in the international market.
President of the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), Mr. TolaFaseru, said that if government were that committed, it would be able to meet the demand of Walmart, which means government is ready to do a lot more across the value chain.
The Sun News reports that the President said “for government to earn the $7 billion,there was need to increase production of cashew, improve its quality in terms of processing, adding that value addition has to be supported. It is expected that in order to meet all of these, the farmers need to be supported, funding has to be made available, infrastructure and a whole lot of things have to be put in place.”