Sunday, September 6, 2015

Agency Proposes 344,000 Jobs From Cashew Processing

 A recent study by the United States Agency for International Development has estimated that an increase in cashew processing in Nigeria can lead to additional $75m revenue and 344,000 jobs.

Nigeria is one of the West Africa’s largest producers of cashew and the sixth largest producer in the world.

But with the production of   raw cashew nuts estimated around 120,000 MT annually, only about 20 per cent of raw cashew nuts are processed into kernels, stakeholders observed during a recent workshop on the cashew sector.

In the workshop themed, ‘Cashew business competitiveness and environmental sustainability,’ which was sponsored by the USAID West Africa Trade Hub Network Project; the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and hosted by the African Cashew Alliance, the stakeholders observed that the cashew sector had the potential to bring about great economic success.

They noted however that the sector was bedeviled by challenges including aggressive export demand; high raw material prices; exchange rate issues; lack of loan facilities for processing; factory closure, job losses among other challenges.

According to them, two key issues that are crucial to the success and future of the Nigerian cashew sector are business competiveness and environmental sustainability.

In his presentation during the workshop, the Business Advisory Manager, African Cashew Alliance, Sunil Dahiya, noted that cashew processing generated a significant amount of waste throughout processing stages adding that the pollution represented a serious threat to the competitiveness of local processors.

He said, “As international buyers increasingly request compliance with environmental standards, the industry must include more efficient technology and better practices.

“Global competitiveness will also require the tightening of food safety and quality standards and the accessibility of market linkages for local processors. Failing to capture this added value and secure a stable future for the industry means a loss of foreign exchange and a loss of essential jobs in the economy.”

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