Reinforcement cashew industry –
Burkina Faso / Benin
Income growth, self-reliance and employment
For Burkina Faso and Benin, cashew nuts are an important export crop. 90% of the crude nuts are exported and processed in factories in Asia. The global demand for cashew nuts is high, but the productivity of the plantations in West Africa is low and the quality of their nuts is too inconsistent. Many cashew farmers do not really want to be farmers and because they mostly operate individually, it’s difficult for them to ensure a good income. In many cases, the cashew trees are too close together and they are poorly maintained. Also, there is too little knowledge on harvesting and sorting technologies, as well as on storage and drying techniques. In addition, the current high world cashew market price and the lack of credit opportunities reduce farmers’ willingness and ability to invest in sustainable quality. In the long run, this endangers the continuity of their source of income.
The initiative aims to help cashew farmers increase their income, through agricultural training courses for 10,000 farmers, loans and savings products for 5,000 farmers and support of 150 farmers’ cooperatives (farming methods, storage, sales and shipment). Investments are made on all levels for the future of a sustainable and inclusive production chain, in which volumes can be increased and the quality can be significantly improved (bigger nuts, less production losses, proper humidity). Also, investments are made to build a competitive cashew processing industry in the country itself. This will not only ensure better market opportunities for crude nuts; it will also create local employment for over 1,700 people (mostly women). Eventually, by-products of the cashew nuts can also be processed into products, such as juice from the cashew apple and oil from the shells. Apart from sustainability and innovativeness, this will also generate new jobs. To maximise the chance of sustainable effects, the central objective is to make each link in the production chain cost-effective in itself. The goal of this initiative is to contribute to an efficient, sustainable, profitable and competitive cashew industry in Benin and Burkina Faso.
The principle target is to achieve an increase in farmers’ revenues and to build their self-empowerment by offering training courses, access to finance, creating a stable outlet and incentives to deliver high quality. Furthermore, the local processing factories offer new employment. It is a finely tuned system of mutual dependence and independence, because farmers are not being forced to sell their crude cashew nuts through the syndicate. To ensure a stable supply, the number of farmers trained exceeds the number of farmers whose harvest the factories can process. The more profit made in the factory, the more farmers profit from that. This strengthening trajectory also encompasses activities regarding education and water supply.