At the moment, Nigeria is at the 6th place on the list of the largest producers of cashew in the world. And only this fact by itself already gives us an idea of the cashew production volume. The cashew industry offers many possibilities for any individual. However, along with the potential and desire, there is a need for a good understanding of how the industry of cashew farming in Nigeria works.
Let's start with the basics. What are cashews? This product is obtained from the cashew fruit. Cashew is a perennial crop, its growth occurs seasonally. It is worth noting that unlike other fruits, its seeds are externally attached to the flesh of the cashew fruit. As a result, the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) has conducted many extensive studies on cashew.
You can get confused that we mentioned CRIN, but don't. The institute conducted a series of studies on cashew and its cultivation, which has led to the development of improved seedlings. The results of this study has led to an increase in the yield of cashew.
The relevance of cashew nuts farming in Nigeria
Efforts made for the purpose of improving the cultivation results of cashew has shown its importance for the economy. Hence its popularity among farmers. Because of the high nutritional value of this product, the demand for cashew currently outweighs the supply. So this is good news for investors and for those who want to engage in the cultivation of cashew in Nigeria.
An interesting feature of this culture is its broad demand, i.e., the global demand for cashews. Currently, Nigeria cannot meet the requirements of exports, however, cashew nuts have contributed significantly to the growth of the total income of Nigeria. It is necessary to keep in mind that starting a cashew business in Nigeria requires proper knowledge.
The value chain of the cashew attracts many participants, and this implies great opportunities for investment. However, to reap the benefits, you must have the necessary knowledge and skills. We will take a brief look at what is required to have a successful cashew business in Nigeria in this article.
The cultivation of cashew
This is the beginning, and it is worth remembering that the launch of the cashew plantation requires some serious work. However, if everything is organized properly, you will get a financial reward as a result. At the start of the cashew plantation, it is important to remember that it takes a lot of time (usually several years) before it will begin to produce cashew.
There should be a garden where the seeds will rise to the condition of young trees. After transplanting them to their permanent place, a gradual process of growth will begin. These trees need constant care until they become mature and able to go without water.
Where to focus when starting a cashew plantation?
As we have mentioned earlier, starting a cashew plantation requires defining the area which will have the greatest impact, i.e., the efficiency. Cashew business has an attractive value chain, and that's the thing where you can focus all your attention. There is a possibility of processing the cashew nuts before selling them or one can just sell them unprocessed; it's up to you.
In any case, it is important to know the right strategy which will give you the highest financial reward. But keep in mind that the processing of cashew nuts significantly increases their market value. It is important to maintain a balance between expenses and profit.
Taking the information from the correct sources
READ ALSO: Agricultural grants in Nigeria 2017: How to get it and use wisely?
For a good start, it is important to obtain guidance from the correct sources. The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) located in Ibadan can be a place to start. This will help you to significantly reduce the chances of a failure in your intended business. In this respect, CRIN has conducted a lot of researches, and thus using the results of these research will be the right move for you. An important aspect of studying researches conducted by CRIN is that you will learn the sources of demand (both domestic and foreign), which greatly facilitates the export of cashew nuts
Have your cashew nut business in Nigeria registered
Running a cashew business requires you to have your business registered. However, the necessity of registration depends on your scope of work (scope of work will be explained below). Obtaining formal approval will give your business the chance to work in a much larger capacity.
Registered agricultural enterprises can use many incentives and benefits. Domestic and foreign supply requires you to have obtained a license achieved through registration. To have your business registered just find the nearest CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) office.
The scope of work
Your financial strength will determine your scope of work. Due to this very reason it is important for you to consider your financial capabilities and the structure of your business in accordance with your available resources. Without doing this, the cashew business is likely to fall into difficult times (financially) shortly. Having an insufficiently financed business is not something you want, because it can harm business activity.
Cultivation of cashew nuts
Cultivation of cashews requires warm, humid climate with 600 mm of rainfall minimum, but more importantly a well-distributed rainfall. Cashew thrives at a wide range of temperatures starting from 15 to 40 degrees Celsius. Cashew is considered to be a strong plant and can grow in soils, especially in sandy ones which are generally unsuitable for other fruit trees and plants. For best outcome of production, it is recommended to use a deep-freeze sandy soil or sandy-loamy soil.
Cashew can be reproduced using seeds or vegetative methods such as grafting, budding, and layering. However, vegetative reproduction planting material is required to obtain higher and earlier yield.
It is recommended that you plant cashew at a distance of 10 m x 5 m, which will give the plant a density of 200 trees per hectare and at the same time, will provide sufficient space for planting crops in the first years of their existence.
The active growth of the trees happens in the first 3 years; one should remove the branches hanging from the tree because they may interfere with the harvesting process.
Diseases and pests also cause damage to the level of the production of the established cashew plantation.
Different types of insects can cause economic losses from 52 to 75% of the level of production.
Similarly, the production of cashew is heavily dependent on major diseases, which include·
- Flower die-back
- Twig die-back
- Root rot of cashew crops
Flower die-back reduces the overall yield of nuts on average by 38-70%.
Twig die-back causes more than 50% death of vegetative shoots of cashew.
Losses due to root rot of cashew seedlings leads to a loss of up to 10-15% of the general cost.
The process of collecting and processing of the cashew crop is time-consuming. The cashew trees bloom for 2-3 months, and the fruit ripens about two months after flowering.
Fruits used for making such products as jam or juices should be gathered from the tree before they fall naturally. After falling to the ground, the fruit can become damaged. The more the fruit ripens, the sweeter it tastes. That's why it is recommended that you gather fruits when they are about to fall. At this point, the nut is fully grown for about two weeks and is ready for harvesting.
Cashews can be stored in for 12 months or more on the condition that they are dried, the content of moisture should be no more than eight percent, and they're packed in sealed plastic bags.
READ ALSO: How to export goods from Nigeria to other countries?