The Nigerian government says it is determined to diversify the country’s economic base from oil and gas resources by collaborating with international agencies to boost its capacity to earn more foreign exchange from cashew exports.
At the moment, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, the Federal Government agency in charge of the policies and programmes to promote export of the country’s cash crops, said its mutual collaboration with United States Agency for International Development, USAID, and the Nigerian Expanded Transport and Trade, NEXTT, has
yielded huge benefits to the economy.
According to NEPC Chief Executive Officer, Olusegun Awolowo, the USAID/NEXTT collaboration with the Council and African Cashew Alliance, ACA, to process only 50 per cent of country’s cashew would create over 8,500 new jobs and inject a positive multiplier effect of over N2 billion (about $11million) in the 11million country’s rural economy.
Mr. Awolowo was convinced the partnership of the NEPC with development agencies and international stakeholders would increase the market linkages for cashew nuts and kernel exporters, especially as value-added cashew export was in growing demand the world over.
As part of the effort to strengthen the collaboration and grow the country’s cashew export capacity, a select group of players in the country’s non-oil export sector are coming together in Lagos on Wednesday to share ideas on the way forward for the export of agricultural products.
Organised by USAID in conjunction with NEXTT and NEPC, the forum would provide the opportunity of the players to finalize prepared Cashew Export Promotion Strategy designed to help boost the cashew industry’s contribution to Nigeria’s non-oil exports through value-addition, quality improvement and market development.
USAID Chief of Party, Alf Monaghan, said the involvement of the ACA in the development of strategies to export cashew would add real value to the sector.
“ACA as an international business Association with more than 200 members in 46 countries worldwide can make significant contributions to the achievement of the strategy in support of Nigerian cashew exports,” Mr. Monaghan said.
He said some of the challenges the country’s cashew industry has been facing as a result of fragmented value chain including the poor quality of the nuts and their low ability to peel, which make the commodity to be discounted at the international market.
Early this year, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between USAID/NEXTT and NEPC to develop an implementable Cashew Export Strategy as a tool to grow the crop as a boost to the Nigerian economy – through additional income, wealth and job creation.