Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew)

Project description

Title: Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Sierra Leone
Partner: SECO, Intersnack, Trade & Development Group, the ministries of agriculture in Ghana and Mozambique (INCAJU), the Conseil de Coton et de l’Anacarde (CCA) in Côte d’Ivoire, the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), SAP AG, Olam, and USAID
Lead executing agency: Benin: Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (Ministère de l’Agriculture, de l’Elevage et de la Pêche [MAEP]), Burkina Faso: Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Water Resources (Ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Hydraulique), Côte d’Ivoire: Ministry of Agriculture (Ministère de l´Agriculture [MINAGR]), Cotton and Cashew Council (Conseil du Coton et de l’Anacarde [CCA]), Mozambique: National Cashew Institute (Instituto de Formento de Caju [INCAJU]), Ghana: Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA)
Overall term: 2009 to 2020


Most of the world’s cashew harvest comes from Africa. The income levels of most cashew farmers tend to be low, and the cultivation methods used are not very productive. However, the potential for creating jobs and achieving higher incomes from growing and processing nuts and their by-products has not yet been fully harnessed by any means. The competitiveness of the cashew value chain in producing countries in Africa is still too weak.

Since 2009, the Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew) has been supporting producers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Ghana in their efforts to increase the yields and quality of their nut crops. More than 100 public and private sector partners have joined forces in this initiative, and a number of research institutes are also partners. ComCashew is part of GIZ’s Broad-scale Promotion of Agricultural Value Chains in Africa Programme.


The competitiveness of the cashew value chain has increased in selected African countries.


Working in cooperation with public and private sector actors, the project team aims to improve the competitiveness of the cashew sector in selected African countries. To achieve this, it is supporting various actors along the cashew value chain.

The project involves four components:

  1. Improving productivity and increasing the quantity and quality of production
  2. Improving the efficiency, quantity and quality of processing
  3. Establishing long-term market links: nationally, regionally and internationally
  4. Creating a supportive enabling environment, for example by means of guidelines that favour the cashew sector

The partners in this project include the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), the Trade & Development Group (TDG), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministries of Agriculture of Burkina Faso and Ghana, Intersnack, Kraft Heinz, OLAM, the Cotton and Cashew Council (CCA), IDH, INAJU and Walmart.


More than 420,000 farmers, 22 per cent of whom are women, have been trained in accordance with the Worldwide Standard of Good Agricultural Practices. Incomes have doubled as a result, yields have increased by up to 80 per cent, and quality has improved.

Additional income of USD 26 million has been generated by processing cashew nuts locally. 5,800 new jobs have been created in local processing, three quarters of which are held by women.

27 projects by public and private sector actors along the value chain are being financed by counterpart funds. In addition, annual tax revenue of over EUR 30 million has been collected by the cashew-producing countries.

The project won the OECD’s DAC Innovation Award for Taking Development Innovation to Scale for its strategy and overall success.

The following results were achieved in Côte d'Ivoire:

  • More than 90,000 cashew farmers have been trained in accordance with the Worldwide Standard of Good Agricultural Practices. This training has helped to increase yields from 336 kilograms per hectare (2010) to 591 kilograms per hectare (2015).
  • 35 Ivorian cashew experts took a master trainer programme in 2014.
  • Overall, the cashew sector is now better organised. The International Cashew Processing and Equipment Trade Fair (SIETTA) was held in 2014 and 2016 with the support of the project. The International Cashew Consultation Council (CICC) was set up at the end of 2016.
  • With the support of technical advisors, eight processors have increased their processing capacity from 2,500 to 18,000 tonnes.

Further information

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