Cashews in shell, Agri-Business Company cashew factory, Touba, C™te d'Ivoire. Cashews in shell, Agri-Business Company cashew factory, Touba, Côte d'Ivoire.

Cashew

Most of the world’s cashews are grown by small-scale farmers in developing countries. But improvements in cashew production and processing can greatly increase returns to small-scale producers in regions like sub-Saharan Africa. TechnoServe works with cashew farmers and processors to improve their ability to earn more money from this $10 billion global industry.

Our Work in Cashew

TechnoServe takes a sustainable approach to support the cashew industry’s development, in order to encourage job creation and improved farmer incomes. Our work to increase cashew production and quality around the world involves: developing cashew processing activities that improve efficiency and throughput, and building capacity for regulatory bodies in order to enhance the business ecosystem.

This can provide an important boost to developing economies. In Benin, for instance, cashew is the second-most valuable export, 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.

Who Benefits

Small-scale farmers

Most cashews in developing countries are grown by farmers who own small plots of land and depend on their cashew crop as an important source of income. TechnoServe has worked with thousands of cashew farmers in Africa to improve the quality and yields of their crops in order to increase their incomes.

Local workers

Our work improving cashew production capacity in developing countries has helped create thousands of new jobs–over 3,400, for instance, in Benin alone. The majority of these new employment opportunities have gone to women.

Local businesses

TechnoServe has helped dozens of processing facilities in Africa to improve the quality and quantity of the cashews they produce. Since TechnoServe’s BeninCaju project began working with farmers and processors in 2015, sales of locally processed cashews have increased over 450 percent, and are expected to grow even further in the next few years.

National economies

By improving farmers’ cashew yields and the processing capacity of local businesses, TechnoServe is helping make cashews one of the most valuable exports in countries like Benin, where the sector’s improvements could increase the national GDP by as much as a few percentage points.