Prosper Cashew signs MoU with CITA in Côte d’Ivoire

On April 4, Prosper Cashew and the Conseil Coton Anacarde (CCA), representing the Cashew Innovation and Technology Center (CITA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to train women and men involved in various aspects of cashew processing and to develop a skills development infrastructure for local processing companies.

With this partnership, the Conseil Coton Anacarde (CCA), through CITA, and Prosper Cashew join forces to address the shortage of qualified human resources in the local cashew industry. As local processing increases in the region, so does the need for skilled technicians to maintain and repair cashew processing equipment. For example, a 10,000 MT plant requires a team of at least one engineer supported by three mechanics to meet the maintenance and upkeep needs of the plant. This need for skilled human resources is particularly acute for technical positions (mechanical engineers, machine operators, equipment repair and maintenance mechanics), as local technicians generally do not have a thorough understanding of the operation of imported machinery. Any training at this level is generally informal and on the job, and there is a clear lack of a structured pipeline of mechanics who would be formally trained in the operation, maintenance and repair of cashew-specific machinery.

Prosper Cashew, funded by  USDA’s Food for Progress program, will help CITA provide sufficient extensive training to build a cohort of technicians capable of repairing equipment used in Côte d’Ivoire, and the rest of West Africa. The initiative will also explore the possibility of helping interested and qualified entrepreneurs establish an equipment service center in Abidjan that could serve the West African region.

“Through our various interactions with industry stakeholders, we found out that limiting ourselves to technical, finance and Marketing support would not be sufficient to solve the needs of local processors. There is a need for an ecosystem, the infrastructure in terms of skill development, spare parts, and the ability to build and repair cashew processing equipment locally. We are very thankful to CCA for giving us the opportunity to build this ecosystem together.” Krishanu Chakravarty – Chief of Party Technoserve, Prosper Cashew.