To improve productivity and expand hectares under cashew cultivation, the United States Department for Agricultural (USDA) and the Federal Government has signed a pact to increase foreign exchange earnings, wealth creation and employment generation.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, during the signing of the memorandum with the USDA Pro-Cashew Project in Abuja yesterday, said the aim was to increase production from 260,000 to 350,000 tonnes by 2023.
According to him, the government’s focus is to sustainably develop the commodity for export. Since the 1990s, cashew has increased the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ranking as the second non-oil export foreign exchange earner for the country. It also generated about $500 million for the country in 2018, providing livelihood for about 300,000 to 500,000 families, mostly youths and women in Nigeria, Nanono said.
He said: “Currently, the national production capacity of cashew in 2020 was 260,000T on 100,000 hectares of land. Average yield was 600kg/ha, against the global average of 1.230kg/ha.”
To kick-start the collaboration with USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew project, the minister constituted the Cashew Value Chain Working Committee to look into the problems and challenges affecting the growth of the value chain in the country.
According to him, the committee, with the support of USDA project, would develop a 10-year strategic plan for Nigeria cashew sector.
The members of committee include the various stakeholders in the cashew chain, chaired by the Managing Director, Nigeria Agribusiness Registrar, Mr. Roland Oroh, and Director, Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA), Mrs Karima Babangida, as a member.
The Chief of Party/Managing Director of the USDA West Africa PRO-Cashew Project, Mr Jeans Francois Guay, informed that the project was being implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international development organisation headquartered in Washington, DC.