Cashew: Nigeria may have lost out at international market due to middlemen’s activities - NIGERIAN TRIBUNEMM
About 68,000 metric tons of cashew nut that could not be exported are currently rotting at the Apapa port and another 37,000 metric tons which was rejected by the Vietnam government due to its poor quality.
The presence of several middlemen from the farm gate to the international market, coupled with the gridlock at the Apapa port usually reduce the quality of the produce before getting to countries of destination.
The National Publicity Secretary of Cashew Farmers Association and Processors of Nigeria, Yinusa Gabriel while speaking with journalists, said Europe, Canada and America are the highest buyers of the product, but unfortunately Nigeria is unable to meet their demand due to sharp practices by the middlemen and the gridlock at the Apapa port.
He said Wall Mart in America has expressed interest to purchase 160,000 metric tons of cashew carnel but unfortunately, Nigeria canâ€™t meet up with the production, â€œbecause of middlemenâ€™s sharp practices, exporters are shunning Nigerian cashew, farmers mix fresh cashew nut with old ones, and by so doing it would lower the quality of the cashew when producedâ€.
He said the off takers tried to fashion out ways of exporting the produce through Idah port to Onitsha and then to the Atlantic Ocean as the international buyers were willing to bring their ships to move the containers but unfortunately the River Niger is so shallow that the batches cannot pass.
He disclosed that the plan of the association was to remove the middlemen and directly interface with the International buyers.
Yinusa disclosed that they have been able to get an off taker who is setting up a 20,000 tonne processing factory in the country, adding that their plan is to process the cashew by themselves before exporting it.
The associationâ€™s Publicity Secretary called on the government to come in as a matter of urgency to clear the gridlock at the Apapa port, dredge River Niger so that goods could be on the water rather the roads, adding that government needs to open up other ports to ease exportation of goods.