The history of cashew in Nigeria dated back to 15th century. Then, it was mainly used in afforestation schemes for the control of erosion in the former Eastern Nigeria.
However, the commercial cashew plantations started in Nigeria in the early 1950s with the establishment of first commercial plantations at Oghe, Oji and Mbala by the defunct Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC) and Iwo, Eruwa and Upper Ogun by the defunct Western Nigeria Development Corporation (WNDC).
From these locations, the planting of the crop spread to other parts of Nigeria particularly the Central and Northern States of Nigeria. Research on cashew production and its uses started at the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan in 1971.
The introduction of Brazilian cashew biotype with improved and desirable nut and kernel quality characteristics by CRIN has further increased the crops spread and popularity in Nigeria.
The commodity of commercial importance is the nut, which contains 47% fat, 21% protein and 22% carbohydrate.
It also contains vitamins, especially thiamine. Cashew nut proteins are complete, having all the essential amino acids and a kilogramme of the nut yields about 6000 calories compared to 3600 calories from cereals, 1800 calories from meat and 650 calories from fresh citrus fruit.
Because of these qualities, the nuts are in great demand and at Foraminifera Market Research we seek to expose the investment opportunity available in the export of the commodity through this report.
Worldwide, trade in cashews exceeds US$2 billion and demand is increasing. Of the total world supply, 110 000 tonnes are traded on international markets. There is great investment opportunity for the processing and export of the commodity in Nigeria.
There is an urgent need for the injection of more funds by the Government into the Nigerian cashew processing sector in order to add value to the products such that processed kernels are exported. The Nigerian cashew nuts are of high quality and its processed kernels have wide acceptability in European and American markets.
The return on investment on the export of raw cashew nuts is estimated between 10%- 15%.