HOW TO START CASHEW FARMING IN NIGERIA: STEP BY STEP GUIDE
Cashew farming business is a silent money spinner, you may never know until you engage in it or be closer to a dealer. Nigeria as nation is seriously milking money out from cashew exportation. For now we are the number 6 producers of raw cashew nuts in Africa, falling under Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Burina Faso, Ghana and Mozanbique according to cashew association.
There’s more money in processing or roasting cashew than selling them raw, the ratio is 1:10. That is why the minister for Agriculture Mr Audu Ogbeh said in 2019 Nigeria would no longer be selling raw cashew nuts but will rather process/roast them in other to benefit from the high cost of exporting the nuts
For Nigeria to become the second highest exporters we need to export about 500,000 tons of raw cashew, we are far below the target. This is where you can come in as an investor or entrepreneur in other to help achieve this goal.
Somebody once said Agriculture is a business and not a project, I couldn’t believe less. That is the main reason for this post. To show you a step by step guide on how to succeed in cashew farming business. The business is not a quick rich kind of business it takes 3 years to make a hit but worth the wait. It involves a lot of capital both in planting and harvesting.
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Acquire a land, I would not advice leasing because it is a long-term investment. So buy the land in the village, secure it by getting the necessary papers. The best soil to use is sandy soil with laterite. Clear grasses and cut down shrubs and trees. Use machines to plough and levelled the land. Mix the sand with animals dung if the nutrient is low but you have to test the soil first to know its nutrient level. Cashew farming can be done both in wet and dry tropics.
Planting cashew from seed is as stressful as that of coffee and oil palm. To learn oil palm farming click her. That is why it is advisable you buy already sprouted seedlings from an established nursery with good species. Or propagated plants the seedlings take 3 years to produce while the direct ones (seed planting) takes 5 years to produce.
Also as in orange farming were the seeds planted directly taste less and fruit less than the parent plant; so also is cashew plants that are raised directly from seeds of a particular cashew tree. For commercial purposes go for the grafted ones. If you want to plant by yourself, use containers or plant directly into a prepared bed. Insert 2-3 seeds into a hole of 2-3 cm depth.
Irrigate the nursery every day after 4-7 days the seeds will sprout. Like in coffee farming use fresh seed. The viability last from the first day to 4 months after which reduction sets in. Dry the seeds under the sun for 3 days. Then soak them in water overnight before planting them the next day. The general spacing is 7m x 9m, however you can still use these planting distances
8m x 5m will give you 100 seedlings on a hectare
7.5 x 7.5 will give 175 per hectare
8m x 8m will give you 156 per hectare
At an early stage before the cashew tree grows and cover the farm you can inter-crop with cassava, plantain, pineapple etc.
Apply nitrogen, phosphorus and zinc fertilizers. Cashew crops need nutrients at every point in their development to grow faster and to produce good fruits. During growing stage give them fertilizer also during fruiting and flowering. Apply farmyard manure 15kg once in a year to a mature cashew tree.
Irrigate your cashew farm during dry season or when draught sets in during wet season. To produce more fruits water them adequately and regularly. Don’t bother to water the plants during raining season but irrigate them once in a week or twice during dry season. In cashew farming 25C-30 temperature is ideal for optimum growth. 6 hours of direct sunlight is needed every day. If you make the mistake of growing them under shade they will not fruit.
PRUNING/MULCHING IN CASHEW FARMING
Cashew plants are pruned the same way like hibiscus plant, cut off entangled branches, remove overcrowded area so as to give room to clean straight branches. If you want to learn hibiscus farming, check my site you would find. it
Use compost manure in mulching the entire farm to reduce weeds growth and to conserve moisture.
Some of the pests are; root and stem borer, tea mosquito, leaf miner etc. Diseases; twig and fora shoot die back, root rot etc. Use pesticides and insecticides, plant resistant varieties. You may have to read up my post on pepper farming to learn how to use neem oil in attack pest and diseases.
WHY YOU SHOULD START CASHEW FARMING
It is a long time earning investment which can last more than 50 years. Cashew nut is the best product gotten from cashew farming,. However you can process the apple into fruit juice for more money.
The nuts are in high demands and the price keeps doubling every passing year thereby making it extremely profitable.
The price of cashew nuts is most times determined in dollars because majority of the people who deal on it are exporters.
Cashew season is 3-4 months; you can imagine having to harvest this long, Men! The business na money jare.
HARVESTING/DRYING OF CASHEW NUTS
The ripe fruit starts dropping from late January. Before the trees starts dropping their fruits make sure you clear around the trees. Remove the grasses and other weeds around the tree to allow for effective picking of the raw cashew nuts. When the fruit falls; it therefore means they are matured. Pick the nuts within 2 to 3 days of falling to avoid quality reduction.
Use sharp knife to detach the apple from the nut ineffective detaching of the nuts would affect the quality. Dry them on a clean surface and keep turning them frequently to ensure uniform drying. Don’t dry them indoors because they would be a delay in drying which can lead to decay. Do not also dry them on a metallic surface because of rust. When the nuts are well dried they would produce rattling sound when turned. The drying may take few days such as 2-3 but always carry them inside during dusk to avoid moisture entering the nut.
HOW TO STORE CASHEW NUTS
Store them in jute bags and not in containers, sacks, plastics or their likes, stitch the jute bag to avoid spoilage. Place the bags on wooden pallets in a dry place with good ventilation. Don’t place them on the floor to avoid moisture absorption that may spoil them.
Leave a clearance of 0.5m between each bag for air to circulate properly, sell the nuts within the same year of harvest to avoid nuts deterioration.
HOW TO ROAST CASHEW NUTS
Set fire and put a wire gauge on it, spread the nuts evenly and allow the heat from the fire to cook them. Don’t let them get burnt, turn them intermittently when the nuts are done they will give out nice flavour, you can remove one to check. Keep roasting them in sets until you exhaust all the nuts. You can rub salt on nuts to roast for taste some even rub oil.Oven can also be used in roasting cashew nuts.
Locate companies that buy them for export, they are mostly based in Lagos. Indians have a good representative of cashew companies in Nigeria. You also can sell directly to foreign buyers. To do this, go to online portals like Alibaba, type in cashew nut buyers and you would be presented with a list of buyers. Open a conversation with any of them that fancy your interest and get a deal.
If you don’t want to go through all of this then you can advertise it online for distributors and suppliers to come and buy from you. But processing it is where the big money is. The raw cashew nuts sells far less than the processed kernel.
The Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), has produce hybrid cashew nuts which matures and produce fruits within 3 years, example is the Jumbo hybrid. The seedling of cashew plant for one is #350. Improved seedlings are Jumbo, Medium and small.
It hates fire so in the face of fire disaster the investment is gone.
Poor management of the farm
Communal clashes or land dispute.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO START CASHEW FARMING BUSINESS
Land in the village/hectare between #100,000-#150,000
Surveying #200,000 estimated
Clearing, ploughing and harrowing #200,000
Seedlings 350 x 100 = #35,000
You can multiply it with the number of hectares you desire. Note the estimation would not be completely the same as some items would less price with increased number.
Someone said his Uncle planted 200 acres of cashew in 1998 and kept on expanding on it and now harvest 20m yearly. Nigeria exports about 90% of its cashew output mostly as kernels and 60% of it is sold to Vietnam. According to Association of Cashew “virtually all the states in the country have the potential to grow cashew”.
A ton of roasted cashew nuts goes for $10,000 international market while a ton of raw cashew nuts is $1,200. Cashew in Nigeria is the second largest non-foreign exchange earner (NCAN)