Prioritize Cashew Processing to Reduce Poverty - African governments advised

The President of the African Cashew Alliance, Babatola Faseru, has called on African governments to show more commitment towards developing the cashew sector on the continent to reduce poverty.


He believed it was about time governments prioritized developing the sector and showed stronger commitment in terms of regulation.


He said it has become necessary for governments to seek to provide proper welfare for local value chain actors, especially farmers,  while also introducing proper mechanisms towards encouraging processing at the origin.  


Africa’s cashew sector, according to him, has over the years proven to have very great potentials, contributing significantly to reducing poverty by serving as a source of income to close to 2 million households in the continent.


Speaking on the occasion of the Nigeria Cashew 2021 Trading Year Flag-off held virtually, he explained that the pandemic has exposed a lot of lapses in the cashew industry, not only in Africa but the world at large. 


This he said included an imperfect value chain, where cashew nuts are produced in Africa, transported to Asia for processing and then to Europe and America for market. Also, the pandemic, he said, showed an industry that is ill-prepared for eventualities.


“The only thing that saved the Cashew industry was the fact that factories in Vietnam did not shut down throughout the pandemic. And so, they served as a market for African farmers and also supplied the European and American markets,” he said in an interview after the event.


Processing at origin, according to him, has not only become important but necessary for a vibrant cashew sector in Africa.      


He believed the less severe impact the pandemic has had on Africa’s cashew sector means the continent will become central to the global cashew industry. “Internationally, we expect more investments in  Africa from investors who want to cut down on cost of processing cashew,” he said.


“It is therefore necessary for governments to show stronger commitments in terms of formulating and implementing policies that promote and support local processing but also support other value chain actors.


“There is also the need to improve our warehousing capacity to enable the farmers and even traders to properly store raw cashew nuts without losing the quality,” he added.


A Market Information Systems (MIS) expert,  Jim Fitzpatrick, believes processing at origin, beyond shortening the supply chain, will enhance traceability, transparency and trust in Africa’s cashew industry. He also believed this will reduce the risks associated with depending on a single processing origin like Vietnam.  


Africa is the leading producer of cashew nuts in the world with over 2.5 million African farmers growing about 57% of the world’s cashews. In 2020, Africa produced over 2.1 million tons of Raw Cashew Nut (RCN).

Unfortunately, RCN processing in Africa remains very low.  Only less than 15% of the total raw cashew nuts produced in Africa were processed locally.


Different countries are putting measures in place to promote their cashew sectors. Ghana, for instance, made significant progress in 2020 by establishing a Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) to regulate the sector and five other tree crops sectors, and also the Cashew Council Ghana (CCG) as the mother association for the various value chain actor associations.