How To Start Cashew Nut Oil Business in Nigeria or Africa: Complete Guide

How To Start A Lucrative Cashew Nut Oil Business in Nigeria or Africa: Complete Guide | Image: Alibaba

Cashew nutshell oil is a dark brown, reddish viscous liquid extracted from the structure of soft honeycomb inside the cashew shell. The oil is a natural resin which could serve as a valuable raw material for multiple uses.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world cashew crop production is estimated at 2.7 million tonnes per annum. Top global producers are Vietnam (960,800 tonnes), Nigeria (594,000 tonnes), India (460,000 tonnes), Brazil (147,629 tonnes) and Indonesia (122,000 tonnes). These countries have been at the top of cashew production list since 2005, according to statistics from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Going by available statistics, the cashew market is expected to record a CAGR of 4.6% by the year 2025. At the moment, African countries contribute 56.5% of global production while Asian countries contribute about 43%. Within the last eight years, Vietnam has expanded its export reach to more than 85 countries in the last eight years, while China remains the largest cashew supplier to the United States.

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Due to its valuable applications and uses, the cashew plant is of great economic importance to Nigeria and other tropical countries. These products are used in the food, pharmaceutical, chemical and allied industries. As a second non-oil export foreign exchange earner for the country, cashew export generated about $500 million in 2016 providing a livelihood for over 300 to 500 families, mostly youths and women.

Currently, the national production is estimated at 350,000 metric tonnes with an average yield of about 600kg per hectare, half the global projection average of 1,230kg per hectare.

In addition to providing shade, the cashew tree is also an embellished ornamental plant that adequately controls soil erosion. Nigeria’s main cashew-growing areas are Abia, Abuja, Anambra, Benue, Cross River, Enugu, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Sokoto and Taraba. High-quality, export-friendly cashew nuts are produced in southwestern and southeastern Nigeria.

For its commercial products, cashew nutshell holds over 200 patents. Cashew nutshell has numerous uses including friction linings, paints, laminating resins, rubber compounding resins, cashew cement, polyurethane-based polymers, surfactants, epoxy resins, foundry chemicals, and chemical industry intermediates. It offers much variety and varied opportunities for other tailored polymers to be produced.

However, despite its numerous applications, Nigeria’s overall cashew oil production still falls short of global demand. Therefore, there is still a lot of work to do to bridge the gap.

The primary objectives needed to improve Nigeria’s cashew nut oil production rate includes to increase production, expand existing plantations, enhance and strengthen storage capacities and develop adequate market information in the sector. Nevertheless, if you are thinking of how to delve into cashew oil production, the step-by-step insight provided in this article will guide you through.

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Chia Seeds Farming Business in Nigeria: The Complete Guide


What Is Cashew Nut oil?

The Cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL) or cashew shell oil is a natural resin with yellowish sheen contained in cashew nutshell’s honeycomb structure, which is a byproduct of nuts cashew production. This product serves as a multipurpose raw material for the production of medicines, antioxidants, fungicides, and biomaterials. It is also used in tropical folk medicine as well as anti-termite treatment.


What Is Cashew Nut Oil Production?

Cashew nut oil production describes the process involved in extracting the viscous oil from the cashew nut fruit by any automated method. Traditionally, the kernel is removed for the cashew nutshell manually. It is then subjected to deshelling, soaking and roasting before final extraction takes place. Industrially, there are three different methods generally used in extracting cashew nut shell liquid from cashew nuts, and this includes the mechanical process, roasting and solvent extraction. The methods used are mainly hot-oil and roasting in which the CNSL oil seeps out from the shell. The traditional way of extracting cashew nut oil is by roasting the nuts over an open fire.

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Business Opportunities In Cashew Nut Oil Production In Nigeria & Around The World

Lots of opportunities are present in the cashew nut oil business. They include:

1). Culinary Uses:

Cashew nut oil is a healthy nutritious oil containing high levels of oleic acid and other trace elements which help in boosting the immune system. Owing to its many health benefits, many homemakers and food vendors utilise it as one of the main components for the preparation of numerous dishes.

2). Medicinal Applications:

Cashew nut oil is useful in battling issues of dental cavities, and research has demonstrated its effectiveness in the field of medicine. Therefore, it remains a remarkable field to be explored.

3). Manufacturing Purposes:

Cashew nut oil is the primary raw material employed in the manufacturing of card or cashew phenol, paint, vanishes, CNSL resin, etc. This means it possesses a rewarding venture for the businessman.

4). Cosmetics Production:

Since the oil comprises Vitamin E in addition to other unsaturated fatty acids, it is utilised in the manufacturing of various types of cosmetic products. Vitamin E helps to prevent ageing, while unsaturated fatty acids maintain the skin’s moisture and suppleness.


Facts and Benefits of Cashew Nut Oil

  • Cashew is a healthy blend of proteins, carbohydrates, dietary minerals, calories and fibre.
  • Cashew nut oils are good sources of Vitamin E, which helps to combat inflammatory conditions associated with the skin.
  • The oleic acid present in cashew, but oil is essential for cardiovascular health.
  • Cashew nut oils are rich sources of magnesium and copper which help in bone formation and development.
  • The cashew nut oils consist of proanthocyanidins that prevent cancer cells from spreading.
  • Cashew nut oils contain the right amount of elements that are effective in preventing macular degeneration or cataracts.
  • Together with proper skin nourishment, the cashew nut oil works well for eliminating dead skin cells and maintaining skin elasticity.
  • Vietnam, Nigeria, Brazil, India and Indonesia are the top producers of cashew nut oil.
  • In Nigeria, Abia, Abuja, Anambra, Benue, Cross River, Enugu, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Kogi, and Kwara, among others account for Nigeria’s exports.
  • Cashew nut oil plays a crucial role in reducing sugar levels in the blood due to its abundance of Vitamin E.
  • Cashews are good sources of antioxidants which help boost immune functions.
  • The oils are utilised in aromatherapy for assisting persons with sleep disorders.
  • The Portuguese name for cashew is caju
  • It was introduced to India by the Portuguese.
  • Nigeria topped the list of cashew nuts producers in 2010
  • Cashews can be boiled, roasted or steamed.

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How To Start Cashew Nut Oil Production In Nigeria: Step-By-Step Guide

Extracting the cashew oil is a long process. Take great caution and safety measures at this stage because the cashew oil is highly toxic.

1). Deshelling the Nut:

The first process in the extraction of cashew nut oil is the removal of the cashew shell from the seed. The shells must first be taken off from the bottom of the fruit. A few mechanised devices could be employed here to make the process faster. Afterwards, the nuts are washed and cleaned of any impurities or foreign matter.

2). Drying:

The next step is drying the nuts to make sure they are free of moisture. Sun-drying and oven-drying are also effective. Drying helps to eliminate a few of the volatile shell oil that could pose a danger to humans. Size reduction can also be done at this stage to create a better contacting surface area for the shell and solvent to enhance removal of the cashew nutshell.

3). Roasting:

After all the shells have been removed, it is necessary to roast the nuts to dry the thin skin surrounding the nut. The skin can then easily be removed by rubbing it through the fingers.

4). Grinding:

Cashew nut oil can be obtained from the nuts immediately the remaining skin has been removed from the nut. The oil can be gotten just by crushing the cashew nuts. Alternatively, you can use a hydraulic or even a mechanical press, much like a winepress to facilitate the extraction of the oil. Finally, your package and store.

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Challenges of Cashew Nut Oil Production In Nigeria

The challenges facing the mainstream sector of cashew oil production in Nigeria include:

  • Processing constraints.
  • The exorbitant cost of seed.
  • Environmental factors.
  • Poor post-harvest handling.
  • Poor cashew processing standards
  • The high price of the machinery needed to process cashew nut.
  • Socio-economic issues.
  • Poor road network hinders distribution.
  • Challenges with marketing cashew nut oil.
  • Difficulty in accessing the international market
  • Low government assistance
  • Limited loan structure for large-scale cashew nut oil production businesses
  • Unavailability of efficient processing tools
  • Low capital

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Sesame Seed Production Business in Nigeria: The Complete Guide


To Sum It Up

The Cashew nut oil has a tremendous potential as a raw material to generate foreign exchange and to create employment opportunities if maximised effectively. Nigeria has long focused on low-end natural nut production, leaving out value-added products like the cashew nut oil. As a result, we have lost substantial income to countries like Vietnam and India. The market opportunity for cashew kernel remains huge at a growing rate of 5% per annum.

Therefore it should be a wake-up call to Nigerian stakeholders and farmers to invest in this long term scheme that has the potential to rake in millions in the coming years. If you’ve already made the wise decision to start up a cashew nut oil business in Nigeria or Africa, you will find it a rewarding venture. The cashew nut oil production business in Nigeria can be a and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a supply chain business to venture into, the cashew nut oil business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.


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