The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has noted that it plans to double the amount of revenue generated from cashew exports to $500 million in 2023.
NEPC executive director and chief executive officer, Ezra Yakusak disclosed this on Thursday at the inauguration of the organic cashew certification programme for export.
He said the programme is a five-year initiative between NEPC, Nicert Limited, Valency Limited, and PRO-Cashew, designed to accelerate growth in the non-oil export sector.
The initiative, he said, would facilitate a gradual shift from conventional cashew to organic ones which guarantees a niche market and premium pricing.
According to Yakusak the aim of the project is to support the Nigeria cashew sector and increase productivity and efficiency, improve crop quality, and improve harvest and post-harvest techniques in the industry.
Emphasising the need for value-addition, he said Nigeria exported 315,677 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts worth $252 million, which accounts for 5.24 percent of the country’s non-oil export portfolio in 2022.
The NEPC boss added that the federal government is committed to increasing cashew export revenue to $500 million.
“In 2022, our non-oil export performance indicated that cashew was the fifth leading non–oil exportable product in Nigeria,” Yakusak said.
“We felt that we need to encourage this product and ensure that the potential from cashew is better harnessed.
“We exported cashew worth about $252 million in 2022 and with the launch of the project, we hope to double it this year.”
Yakusak, however, raised concerns that the full economic potential inherent in cashew export have not been harnessed, despite the product being the fifth leading non-oil exportable product in Nigeria last year.
He express belief that the initiative would address issues plaguing the Nigeria cashew sector.
“Nigeria’s cashew export trade was largely hampered by non-adherence to food safety standards, lack of traceability, low yield per hectare, poor practices, and aging trees, among others,” he added.