Nigeria has been silently raking billions of naira from the exportation of cashew just as the current administration moves away from over reliance on oil.
Between 2015 and 2017, Nigeria earned $813.05m (N284.5bn) in foreign exchange from the exportation of cashew.
The President, National Cashew Association of Nigeria, Mr. Tola Fasheru, gave the figure in Abuja shortly after he led a delegation of the association to meet with the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar.
The NCAN president disclosed that the contribution of cashew to national export earnings had been on a steady increase since 2015.
For instance, he said export earnings rose from $152m in 2015 to $259m in 2016 and $402.05m in 2017. According to him, Nigeria’s major trading partners are from Vietnam, India and the United States.
Fasheru commended the commitment of the Federal Government to repositioning the economy through cashew production and stressed that the Nigerian brand of cashew nuts was one of the most preferred internationally.
He called on the Federal Government to address some of the problems affecting the production and exportation of cashew in the country.
For instance, he called for a quick solution to the Apapa gridlock which he said was negatively impacting on the exportation as well as provision of 2,600,000 jute bags for the packaging of cashew nut harvest for 2018.
Fasheru also sought the support of the government in the provision of N20bn needed to finance the exportation of cashew in the 2018 fiscal period.
He said despite the challenges facing cashew production, the country was able to increase its production volume with the country becoming the fourth largest producer of the commodity globally.
Fasheru said the country was able to produce 220,000 metric tonnes in 2017 and exported 120,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts.
The minister was said to have commended the contribution of the NCAN to the improvement in cashew farming, processing and production.
This, she stated, had boosted the contribution of the sector to foreign exchange earnings, job creation and the growth of the Nigerian economy.
She promised that urgent steps would be taken to ameliorate the problems facing cashew farmers and exporters.
This, she said, would be achieved in collaboration with other agencies directly involved with the identified challenges to cashew production, packaging and exportation.