Where We Work
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.
Featured Cashew Projects
Transforming the Cashew Value Chain
With financial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), TechnoServe implemented the MozaCajú project from 2013 to 2018, supporting the Mozambican cashew nut industry by harnessing global market demand for premium cashew and addressing obstacles throughout the value chain, including in the areas of production, inputs, processing, finance and marketing.
BeninCajù: Strengthening a Sustainable Cashew Sector in Benin
TechnoServe is leading a sector-wide value chain approach aimed at strengthening and expanding the cashew sector into a more productive, competitive, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth engine for the people of Benin.
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. Processing cashew by-products poses a unique opportunity for women’s inclusive economic diversification.
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.
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.
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.
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.