In our own words
Krishanu Chakravarty, Chief of Party
West African cashew sector is in the midst of a paradoxical time, similar to the famous line “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Globally, the recent past has been punctuated by pandemics and war. This has thrown the supply chain into disarray leading to global food, fuel and fertilizer crises. As inflation marched north, economic stability lost balance and food insecurity loomed large. As always, in such a scenario, discretionary spending comes into play. Food items like nuts become the victim of dipping consumption. The processor’s margin gets squeezed in the wake of falling demand. That is what the cashew sector has been witnessing in the last six months.
However, West Africa has a different story to tell. Supported by enhanced raw cashew nut production volume, encouraged by a conducive policy environment for processing and stimulated by the renewed interest of the investors, countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Benin have ramped up the processing capacity.
And why won’t they?
Let us look at the consumption trend. As consumer eating pattern evolves, there is a clear shift towards healthier ingredients and alternatives. For example, cashew butter packed with compelling benefits is used as popular addition in multiple applications. From taste masking to texture smoothening, cashew butter provides an attractive nutritional profile with minimal processing. And the size of this opportunity looks enormous. Hence, exciting! Another key aspect, of the new dynamics in the agriculture and food sector, is the need to move processing closer to production origin given the logistic challenges, price volatility and climate implications. The West Africa cashew processing sector could not have asked for better timing.
In Prosper Cashew, as we upscale our work across Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, we will focus on increasing the processing volume through productivity enhancement, cost efficiency and marketing effectiveness. We have been engaging with multiple stakeholders to address the challenges which would add more jobs in these countries, increase value creation at origin by processing raw cashew nuts and reduce carbon footprint.
As we strive towards putting West Africa on the global cashew processing map, we do put emphasis on gender equality and its significance in the growth of the economy.
This is our first newsletter which highlights the journey so far…