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NIGERIA - Untapped local market for cashews.

The National Cashew Association of Nigeria announced that the industry is currently earning $150 million through domestic and export trade. The Publicity Secretary of the associa- tion, Mr. Anga Sotonye, insists that this number could be even higher with sup- port from the Federal Government.

Sotonye stressed on the need to savecashew tress from extinction in the coun try. Cashew trees in Nigeria are an endan-gered crop, because it is chopped and down turned into firewood and charcoal. Some farmers are cutting down cashew trees to replace them with cash crops. If this trend continues, cashew growing will become a defunct activity inNigeria. "Nigeria is the 4 th largest producer of cashew nuts in Africa but if the right attention is given to the sector, Nigeria can become number one because we have all it takes," says Sotonye.

He said the country produces about 120,000 tonnes of cashews every year, 95% of which are sold for export trade. He suggested that the government should boost value-addition in the industry by investing in the cashew processing centers. He added that the government should authorize wider planting of cashew trees.He stated, "We have to plant 300,000 new high yielding cashew varieties between 2013 and 2014 to gradually replace the over aged cashew trees.

There is need to provide jute bags at subsidized rates to pack our raw cashew nuts after harvest and retain the quality and integrity of our raw product. This way we will create jobs, empower our people and protect our market." He pointed out the Nigerians often paid premium prices for imported nuts from retailers and indicated that this was evidence of an untapped domestic market.

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Publication:Pakistan Food Journal
Geographic Code:6NIGR
Date:Aug 31, 2012
Words:280
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