African Cashew Alliance (ACA) says over 344, 000 new jobs and 75 million dollars additional revenue could come from the Nigeria’s cashew processing industry, if properly harnessed.
Mr Sunil Dahiya, the ACA Business Development Manager, said this on Monday in Ilorin at the opening of a two day-workshop on “Cashew Business Competitiveness and Environmental Sustainability”.
The workshop is co-sponsored by USAID Nigeria, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) ACA, in partnership with the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN).
“The commercial production of cashew in Nigeria currently values approximately 160 million dollars and supports the livelihood of over one million people.”
“Only about 20 per cent of the raw cashew nuts produced in the country were processed into kernels.
“An increase of 20 per cent within Nigeria’s processing industry can create more than 344, 000 new jobs and generate over 75 million-dollar of additional revenue.”
He said that Nigeria ranked sixth in global cashew production, adding that if properly harnessed, the cashew industry in the country had the potential to bring about great economic success.
Dahiya expressed regret that in spite of the enormous economic potential of cashew, the processing industry in the country faced many challenges.
“Business competitiveness and environmental sustainability are crucial to the future success of the Nigerian cashew sector.
“Cashew processing generates a significant amount of waste throughout the processing stages.
“This pollution represents a serious threat to the competitiveness of the local processors.”
The manager said that the ACA was determined not only to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the African cashew industry, but also increase the processing of the commodity on the continent.
“Our objective is to facilitate the development of an industry that benefits the entire value chain, from farmer to consumer by sharing information and best practices among stakeholders.”
He said ACA had also been providing technical assistance, facilitating investments and promoting international standard and market linkages.
In his own remarks, Mr Segun Awolowo, the Executive Director/ CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), said that cashew nut export was a significant contributor to Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
Awolowo, speaking through Chief William Ezeagu, the Deputy Director, Product Development Department of the council, also said that the cashew industry had the potential to generate economic growth through wealth creation.
According to him, the potential of the commodity necessitated its inclusion among the National Strategic Export Products (NSEP) because of its foreign exchange earning potential.