By Bimbola Oyesola
It was reported about two months ago that Nigeria would be exporting roasted cashew nuts worth $7 billion to Walmart, the biggest supermarket chain in the United States.
The report credited to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe, said the demand is about 130,000 tonnes of cashew nuts per annum.
Presently Nigeria ships raw cashew to Vietnam, where it is roasted and shipped to the US during which process, Nigeria loss about N380 billion.
Though the Minister has said that Nigeria would build six cashew processing factories to be sited in Enugu, Imo, Benue, Kogi, Kwara and Oyo states, which are “the cashew belts for now to meet up with the Walmart demand, there are more big stores as well as other African shops in the diaspora, including local stores in Nigeria that will take up the stock.
Indeed with the nation’s focus on non-oil export, this a goldmine for any investor who may wish to catch up on the opportunity now available in the processing and packaging of cashew nuts.
Nigeria is one of the top ten producers of cashew in the world. Cashew is a smallholder crop and supplements the incomes of thousands of farmers across 18 states of the federation.
Cashews are extremely nutritive as well as comprises of energy, vitamins, and antioxidants which are vital for strong health. These are high in calories, and some fibres which help in the protection of major diseases like cancer. The processing of cashews devises a lot of benefits and trade gains that can provide investors with lots of profits for the long run.
By far, the U.S is the largest buyer of cashew kernels followed by the Netherlands.
Raw cashew nuts and cashew nut shell liquid are the two main products that have a great demand in international market. There are other two cashew products namely cashew kennels and cashew apples. Cashew kennels are also sold in world market; the USA is the leading consumer of it.
The raw cashew nuts need to be processed for consumption. Before processing, they are dried in the sun for 2-3 days to lower the moisture content of the nut. It is then stored in the gunny bags.
However, investor can begin with a medium-scale cashew nut processing and the investment can bring a large profit by selling a large quantity of processed cashew to the retailers. It is true that it would need relatively big start-up capital to set up the plant. It is one-time investment but can generate continuous revenue if everything goes well. For starting a cashew nut processing business, it is important to be familiar with few technical details, which include:
Registration is very vital as it gives identity to the products as well as the company behind the products. It equally protects the products from adulterated. So while beginning the business of a cashew processing, you will require acquiring numerous registrations as well as licenses from the Government and its agencies, both at the national and state. For example, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), National Agency for Food, Drugs and Control Agencies (NAFDAC) and others.
You may also protect the brand name of your cashew processing company by way of Trademark Registration.
The investment in the food processing can be either done through personal funding or you may take the loan from any commercial banks or Micro Finance banks.
The demand for the cashew nut is growing speedily all over the world and there are so many countries that indulge in producing, processing, consuming and exporting of cashew nuts. It is one of the significant agricultural products that are imported and exported in many countries. So, if you start a small-scale cashew nut processing business, then it is quite obvious that you will have very bright future in this trade.. In fact, some nations also support small businessmen who want to expand their cashew nut processing business on the large scale.
Equipment and setup of machinery
You must have the possession of a land evaluating around 500 sq.mt and that will be adequate for your small-scale cashew nut processing unit. The location must be smoothed and also possess an open space to dry out cashews in the sun. You must check the availability of nearby labor and the market where you will sell your product. All this matters a lot while calculating the total cost of processing. But the main raw material is cashew nuts.
The following however are some important machinery and equipment that are required for the cashew nut processing business:
Cooking containers; Semi-automatic shedding appliance; Steam reservoir; Multi-shade cashew nut categorization machine; Husk sorting machine; Vapour tube; Hot furnace and Hand functioned cutting equipment.
Others are: Cashew flaking machine; Cashew nut filling machine; Fragments strainer; Set of scales and Shutting machine.
It is compulsory that you packed your final product in a humidity proof as well as airtight packets. You will also require obtaining the wrapping replaceable for cashew processing unit.
Arrangement of capital
A maximum share of the capital will be required for acquiring a place for rent for the operation of the business and for the purchases of the different equipment. You also need to have sufficient capital in hand for the purchase of raw materials and for the payment of labor’s salary.
If you don’t have enough savings for starting the capital, you can take financial assistance from the banks. The new government policies are very helpful for small scale business to get financial loan from bank. You need to prepare a well-crafted business plan which will show the entire planning of yours to run the business and how you will make profit from the invested capital. With a good business plan you can get loan even without any kind of collateral deposits.
Marketing and promotion is an important step for the success of the business. Promotion of business helps to reach out to customers in the market. You need to promote your business from the day you have finalized to start the cashew processing business. It will help to spread the message and you will get a good amount of clients at the time of your first unit of production is completed.
Along with the traditional ways of promotion, you can also take the modern way of digital marketing to promote your business. Opening a personal website for your business will help you to get connected with customers from worldwide. You can also sell your items online. Using social media sites like facebook, twitters and others is also a great option to promote your business free of cost.