To be successful and organise his business in a way that will benefit as many people as possible – that’s what Kwabena Taylor, who manages a cashew processing company in Ghana, wants. And GIZ has supported his efforts via the African Cashew Initiative, which is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and various other companies. Thus far over 250,000 small farmers have been trained on how to improve the quality of their cashew nuts. In addition, the Initiative has advised more than 20 companies in West Africa and created more than 5,000 jobs.
I travelled a lot in my youth. I lived in the USA and visited Europe. I always thought the ‘grass was greener on the other side.’ But it isn’t – and I soon came back. Ghana offers so many opportunities; I love the country and the people. When my brother showed me this piece of land, I immediately began to make plans.
Cashews are in demand the world over and the market is growing. In days gone by, African countries used to export their raw cashew nuts and so forego the substantial income that can be generated by processing them. Nowadays there is more and more local processing going on. We pay our farmers fair prices, help them improve the quality of their nuts and create jobs – especially for women.
In Ghana it is difficult to get funding for agriculture. We had just got together enough money when we realised that the raw products the local farmers were offering us were not up to standard. Luckily we have good international partners that advise us well on all these challenges.
First and foremost I am a business man. I want to be successful and earn money. But I also feel very responsible towards my workers. If I had to close the factory they would all lose their jobs. Often an entire family is dependent on this income. For this reason, the most important thing is that as many people as possible benefit from my company.
I would finance the vocational training of promising young men and women – education is the most valuable commodity there is. And I would put money into environmental protection projects: I would like to see a greener world. But I would still go to work in my factory every day and I would continue to invest money in cashew processing in Ghana.