Cultivating Cashew to Create Economic Growth in Benin and Mozambique

February 11, 2019

Africa is home to over half of the world’s supply of cashew, a crop that is growing in demand globally as incomes rise and diets change. From planting seeds, to harvest, to processing, see how cashews from Mozambique and Benin make it to your table.

"Cashew allows me to live." 

Biba Saka Koto, Cashew Farmer

Cashew is the second-most valuable export from Benin, with annual production reaching nearly 140,000 tons. When TechnoServe began its work in the cashew sector in Benin in 2015--with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)--only about four percent of the cashew produced was being processed locally. In 2019, largely due to our support for processors, we expect that figure to increase to 18 percent.

At the same time, TechnoServe aims to expand our work on the production side from 15,000 farmers to 50,000 farmers and, building on the 2,000 jobs created thus far, generate at least 3,400 more jobs--70 percent of them for women. Hear directly from the farmers we work with, and TechnoServe’s Benin Country Director, James Obarowski, on the industry’s potential for growth.

“People are starting to believe that cashew is now the best thing to save us from poverty.”

Amadeus Machado, Cashew Farmer

With support from USDA, TechnoServe Mozambique has worked with the cashew sector since the early 2000s, when we helped to revitalize cashew processing by assisting with the process of refurbishing factories, creating job growth for farmers and factory workers alike, providing farmers with the technical skills necessary to create sustainable incomes. Today, roughly 1.4 million Mozambicans and their families produce and rely on cashew as a key source of income, and more than 10,000 workers are involved in its processing. Still, only half of the raw nut produced in Mozambique is also processed in-country, pointing to a key opportunity for continued public and private investment.

TechnoServe Mozambique has now worked in the cashew sector for 20 years, and the industry has grown tremendously.. Currently, there are fifteen factories with an 80 to 90 percent female workforce, and farmer incomes have increased by more than 66 percent Discover the various ways TechnoServe Mozambique has worked within the sector to scale its impact:

 
 

For many people, cashew is just a simple ingredient--but by working throughout the value chain to benefit small farmers in Africa, it can also be a key ingredient in reducing poverty.

 

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