The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, says that Nigeria targets to raise its annual production capacity of cashew nuts from 260,000 metric tonnes to over 500,000 metric tonnes.
The minister said this on Monday while declaring open the 16th edition of African Cashew Alliance conference in Abuja.
He said there are huge investment opportunities in the sub-sector, adding that there was need for value addition in the cashew value chain to grow Nigeria’s economy.
According to him, the plan is to increase production of cashew from the current 260,000 metric ton to over 500,000 metric ton within the next few years.
“In the next few years, Nigeria intends to ensure the processing of not less than 50 per cent of its total production,’’ he said.
Adebayo urged investors to invest in the sub-sector with a view to exploring the benefits it provides.
He assured that the Federal Government would ensure the enabling environment for businesses in cashew production, processing and export to thrive.
“The government has put in place incentives to encourage investments in the sub sector.
“This is therefore a call for actors both local and international players to take advantage of these incentives to invest as Nigeria remains the ultimate investment destination for investors in the cashew sub-sector,’’ Adebayo said.
The minister also expressed Federal Government’s commitment towards relevant technologies and capacity that would drive the development of cashew value chain.
He, however, tasked stakeholders to curb practices that threaten fair play in the cashew value chain.
“It is the responsibility of all stakeholders, producers and buyers to ensure that they discard practices that threaten fair play in the cashew value chain.
“Let me therefore task stakeholders to take relevant steps to address this lopsidedness of the cashew sub-sector to ensure fair trade with near equal distribution of benefits from the commodity amongst producers and importers,’’ he added.
The minister further tasked participants to seize the opportunity provided by the conference to make implementable recommendations for the development of the commodity.
“This will assist governments of cashew-producing countries to create the needed environment for public and private sector led investments in sub sector to maximise the gains and benefits derived from the commodity.
The minister also emphasised the need to appreciate the importance of evolving strategies for trading proficiency in the production and processing of cashew.
“This will not only support creativity and innovation but will also help open up new opportunities in the cashew sub-sector,’’ he said.
Adebayo said that the only way to enhance the contributions of cashew to the national economy is by transforming raw cashew nuts.
“This will ensure sustainable development of the sector, create new markets for new products, create employment and generate wealth for the citizenry,’’ he said.
Mr Babatola Faseru, President of African Cashew Alliance (ACA), said that cashew was taking the centre stage in Africa.
According to him, Nigeria is the 5th producer of cashew in the world while Africa produces 60 percent of the cashew in the world.
“The commodity has occupied the centre stage on the continent.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 30 countries are participating in the four-day conference with the theme, “Strengthening Sustainable Kernel and By-Products’ Marketing in the Africa Cashew Industry.”