Cashew Initiative – a role model for development in Africa

More than 430,000 farmers are benefiting from higher incomes and yields. Around 22,000 new jobs in cashew processing have also been created.

On 7 and 8 July 2017, the world's eyes will be on Hamburg, when the heads of state and government of the 19 major industrialised and emerging nations and the EU meet for the G20 Summit. One of the central topics at this meeting will be Africa and how to secure sustainable economic development on the African continent. The Competitive Cashew Initiative offers a prime example of how to achieve this.

Founded in 2009, the initiative has improved living conditions for farmers and their families in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Mozambique. Thanks to training and improved access to high-quality seed, they can cultivate larger quantities of cashews with a consistent level of quality. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH coordinates the initiative, which brings together more than 100 public and private partners, including the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), national governments and private international companies such as Kraft Heinz Foods, Intersnack and Olam.

The results speak for themselves. More than 430,000 cashew farmers have already received training, and have been able to increase their incomes as a result. In addition to working with individual farmers, the initiative also focuses on industry. Cashew processing is a major source of employment, although most processing jobs have been located outside Africa up to now. GIZ has therefore advised companies in partner countries on how to increase their stake in the industry. The upshot: processing capacity in the five cashew producer countries has risen from just under 9,000 tonnes to some 250,000 tonnes in 2016.

A total of around 440,000 new jobs have been created in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Mozambique – 75 per cent in production, 20 per cent in trade and 5 per cent in processing. Furthermore, cashew farmers, processing companies and traders have increased their incomes by more than EUR 480 million in all.

In 2016, the Competitive Cashew Initiative received an innovation award from the OECD Development Assistance Committee for its concept and measurable successes.

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