Improving the livelihoods of cashew farmers in Ghana through fair prices, better quality and more jobs

01.06.2015 – The African Cashew initiative improves product quality and optimises supply chains. Both of these issues also play an important role during the European Development Days.

Small farmers in Africa produce about 40 per cent of the global cashew crop. Due to the poor quality of the nuts, low productivity and a lack of organisation, however, the cashew farmers often find themselves in a weak negotiating position compared to traders, meaning that they can only earn very low incomes. This is compounded by the fact that less than 10 per cent of the raw cashews produced in Africa are actually processed there. As a result, much of the added value does not benefit Africa.

The African Cashew initiative was founded to address this issue and improve the situation of farmers and producers. The programme is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. GIZ advises and trains cashew producers in five countries to help them secure their livelihoods by increasing their yields and meeting international quality standards. Thus far the African Cashew Initiative has benefited more than 333,000 small farmers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Mozambique. In the process, the quality of the cashew nuts grown has improved significantly.

Another aim of the initiative is to create new jobs in cashew nut production and improve links to local and international markets. These efforts have already led to the creation of about 5,800 jobs, primarily for women. Producers have also been able to improve their connections to local processing companies and expand cooperation with international companies.

Since the initiative was launched in 2009, the combined income of small farmers has increased by a total of USD 5million, with a target of USD 30 million annually from 2015.

Rural development is a key issue of the European Development Days (EDD) taking place on 3 and 4 June in Brussels. GIZ is shining the spotlight on some current issues of rural development and food security with two events, ‘Value chains for value gains – Multistakeholder partnerships to boost agricultural growth’ and ‘Exploring the land-drugs nexus’.