NEPC Launches Organic Cashew Certification For Export
As part of measures to further promote non-oil exports of Nigerian commodities, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, has launched an Organic Cashew Certification Programme for Export.
At the occasion at the Export House in Abuja, the Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak said the launch was in collaboration with a private organization, NICERT, Valency and PRO-Cashew.
Dr Yakusak stated that the collaboration was a good model of strategic partnership to accelerate the required growth in the non-oil export sector, He also noted that Nigeria is the 4th leading producer of Raw Cashew Nut, RCN, in Africa with about 19 producing states.
“According to statistical data obtained from the various Pre-shipment Inspection Agents, Raw Cashew Nut was the 5th leading non-oil exportable product in Nigeria in the 2022 Non-Oil Performance Report. In the period under review, Nigeria exported 315,677MT of RCN worth USD252m in 2022, which accounts for 5.24% of Nigeria’s non-oil export portfolio. But sadly, we have not maximized and harnessed the full economic potential inherent in cashew export” He explained.
The Executive Director expressed concern that Nigeria’s cashew export trade is largely hampered by non-adherence to food safety standards, lack of traceability, low yield per hectare, poor practices, ageing trees and the fact that most of the nation’s cashew exports are in primary form.
” Export of processed cashew kernel is very low and accounts for about 16% of cashew export, also the primary cashew produce export is mostly the conventional and not organic certified cashew and it is based on the foregoing that, we felt the need to collaborate and chart a pathway with deliberate and planned activities to address the issues plaguing the Nigerian cashew sector’ Dr Yakusak stressed.
He stressed that the aim of the project to support the Nigeria Cashew sector and increase cashew productivity and efficiency, improve crop quality, and improve harvest and post harvest techniques among others and may 1 emphasize that a careful and faithful implementation of this project will facilitate a gradual shift from conventional cashew to organic cashew, whose export guarantees a niche market and premium pricing.
Dr. Yakusak pointed out that the Council is committed to the project and ready to provide necessary support to ensure its effective implementation. stating that this is not the first time the Council is making such intervention in the cashew sector.
” The Council had previously undertaken various technical sessions, provision of inputs and other intervention materials across the Cashew producing states, which are designed to improve the know-how of value chain actors and similarly, under the Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) scheme, the Council trained 200 cashew farmers in Oyo and Kogi States, and also fully paid for the implementation of organic certification for 100 cashew farms” He added.
In a remark, Mr Olutoyin Olufemi from PRO-Cashew, NICERT, Valency said the project would go a long way in repositioning the Nigeria cashew sector noting that after the completion of the project, Nigerian cashew would attain its rightful position and be a major contributor to the nation’s export earnings and its GDP