Cashew seed exportation is a business that has made some Nigerians into instant millionaires. Though cashew has high economic value and gives many millions annually, people from the South-West are still unable to meet high demands for the seed, unlike other states despite the fact that the region has suitable soil and weather for cashew seed cultivation, if attention is paid to the exportation of cashew seeds, it may indeed be farewell to dependence on crude oil for survival.
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), through its Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, recently announced that in spite of poor infrastructure, lack of finance and poor power supply among many challenges, Nigeria still ranks as a global leader in the export of seven agricultural produce.
Awolowo while speaking on the provision of a seamless logistics service as a panacea for economic growth at a business seminar said high export products include yam, melon, kola nut, cassava, sorghum and shea nut amongst many others, adding that it is import to streamline the procedures and documentation of exports.
According to him, there are 22 steps to exporting goods and this lengthy and cumbersome procedure tends to add to the cost of doing business and if the issue of procedures and documentation remained cumbersome, opportunities available in non-oil export will remain a mirage.
He explained that the dominance of oil revenue is changing around the world and attentions are being shifted to non-oil export, encouraging private investors to build export warehouses to serve as one-stop-shop for non-oil exports.
And part of the non-oil export agricultural-based opportunity options available in Nigeria and the southwest region is cashew seeds exportation. Indeed, it has been said that Nigeria became the largest producer of cashew in the year 2008 and maintained this lead even till 2010.
Cashew seed, which goes by the botanical name Anacardium occidentale, is a tropical and frost-sensitive tree crop mostly valued for its nuts which are harvested once in a year. The tree which forms a large canopy and grows in fertile sandy loam soil thrives more in the southern part of Nigeria.
The major areas of cashew seed planting in Nigeria include Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, and the Ogun States in the Southwest part of the country, Enugu, Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi and Cross River States in the eastern part of the country, Kwara, Kogi, Nassarawa, Benue, Taraba, Niger and FCT in the Middle Belt and also Sokoto and the Kebbi States in the northwest part of the country. However, in order of importance, the majority of export quality nuts are said to come from the Southwest followed by the Eastern parts of the country.
The Nigerian market is patronized mainly by Indians and Indonesian exporters with many Nigerians being middlemen that source for the nuts in large quantities though it is said to be in high demand in the USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, and some European and Middle East countries. And according to reports, the bulk of quality cashew nuts in the southwest come from Oyo state with Ogbomoso taking the lead due to its soil and the weather which is suitable for cashew nut production. Other towns include Iganna, Okeho, and many parts of Ibarapa.
In Osun state, cashew seed can be found in Ife, Ido Osun, Ede and some parts of Ofatedo. In fact, cashew is big business in Ife as the Federal Government in collaboration with the state government in 2016 inaugurated the cashew planting season at Ogudu village in Ile Ife as the first step in government’s plan to establish a cashew processing factory in the town in other to add value to the commodity. Read Here
The Nigerian market is patronized mainly by Indians and Indonesian exporters with many Nigerians being middlemen that source for the nuts in large quantities though it is said to be in high demand in the USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, and some European and Middle East countries. And according to reports, the bulk of quality cashew nuts in the southwest come from Oyo state with Ogbomoso taking the lead due to its soil and the weather which is suitable for cashew nut production. Other towns include Iganna, Okeho and many parts of Ibarapa.