Empowering Women with Cashew Products

Over 60 percent of Nigeria’s population lives in poverty, while women suffer the greatest effects: they consistently earn less, are less educated, and less likely to participate in the labor force. Agriculture is recognized as a significant source of employment and area for growth in Nigeria, and currently accounts for 20.2 percent of the country’s GDP. Processing cashew by-products poses a unique opportunity for women’s inclusive economic diversification. The Cashew Byproducts Project seeks to increase and diversify women's income by training women to process the cashew into products including honey, juice and dried snacks. The project has successfully guided over 60 women to produce cashew by-products, bring the products to market and to re-invest profits in off-season businesses. Because cashew apples have for generations been tossed aside as waste, the ability to transform them into marketable products constitutes an innovation in the cashew value chain and in the country’s culture and human capital. The project began in the states of Kogi and Kwara in January 2015 and will end in September 2016.