Prosper Cashew and Côte d’Ivoire’s Cotton and Cashew Council Partner to Build Essential Skills Needed by Industry
The partnership will help develop the skilled human resources needed to support the growth of the country’s promising cashew processing sector
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire – Last month, the Prosper Cashew project–funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and led by international nonprofit TechnoServe–signed a memorandum of understanding to work with Côte d’Ivoire’s Cotton and Cashew Council (CCA, for its French initials) to help Ivorian women and men build the technical skills needed by the country’s cashew exporters.
Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s leading producer of cashew nuts, but just 10% of locally grown cashews are processed within the country. The rest are exported as raw cashew nuts to be processed overseas, depriving the country of the significant earnings and employment opportunities provided by value-addition.
Prosper Cashew launched in October 2020 with the goal of increasing local processing in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria. Over five years, the project aims to facilitate $61 million of investment in the cashew sector, help processors sell more than $200 million of processed cashew products, and create more than 4,500 new jobs across West Africa. To do this, it is providing tailored technical assistance to cashew processors; establishing a cashew catalyst fund that will help firms access working capital; strengthening the links in the value chain and improving marketing of West African cashews; and connecting investors to the processing businesses.
One obstacle to the sector’s growth, however, is a shortage of workers with the technical skills required by the industry.
“Through our various interactions with members of the industry, we discovered that limiting ourselves to technical, financial, and marketing support would not be enough to meet the needs of local processors,” said Krishanu Chakravarty, Prosper Cashew’s chief of party. “There is a need to set up an ecosystem, an infrastructure in terms of skills development, provision of spare parts, and skills for the construction and local repair of cashew processing equipment. We are very grateful to the CCA for giving us the opportunity to build this ecosystem together.”
The program will work with the CCA’s Center for Cashew Innovation and Technology (CITA, for its French initials) to train individuals to serve as engineers, machine operators, and other technicians to run, maintain, and repair the equipment within cashew processing plants. Under the partnership, TechnoServe and CITA plan to jointly develop a training curriculum to be delivered to at least 100 students, who will then be placed in internships at processing companies. The partners will also explore opportunities to help Ivorian businesses establish themselves as equipment service centers for processors across the region.
“Cashew holds enormous untapped potential in Côte d’Ivoire,” said Chakravarty. “This new partnership to build local skills represents a true win-win solution: processors will have better access to the qualified personnel they desperately need in order to grow, while Ivorian women and men will have better access to in-demand, quality jobs.”
Founded in 1968, TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty for good. A non-profit organization working in 30 countries, we work with people to build a better future through regenerative farms, businesses, and markets that increase incomes. Our vision is a sustainable world where all people in low-income communities have the opportunity to prosper.