$23M PRO-Cashew project launched to boost cashew sector in West Africa

A US$23million PRO-Cashew project has been launched in Abidjan Thursday to boast cashew production in Ghana and four other West African countries.


The project is aimed at promoting the West African value chain, professionalizing the cashew industry, and also encourage the proactive participation of stakeholders of the cashew value chain.


The project will improve the cashew sector in the subregion by increasing the productivity and efficiency of producers through improving quality and strengthening the capacities of producer cooperatives and organizations.


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) project will be implemented by the Cultivating New Frontier in Agriculture (CNFA) in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Benin, and Burkina Faso.


Speaking at the official launching ceremony of the project, the United States Ambassador in Cote d’Ivoire, His Excellency Richard K. Bell, said the PRO-Cashew project will “provide mutual benefits to all cashew farmers, processors and traders” in the beneficiary countries.


He encouraged all stakeholders to participate fully and take advantage of the project in the respective countries


On his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Cote d’Ivoire, Hon Adjoumani Kobenan, said the project reaffirms the excellent relationship between the United States and West African countries and shows their commitment to developing the Agricultural sector.


According to PRO-Cashew’s Chief of Party, Jean Francois Guay, the project will “promote the development and competitiveness of the cashew sector in West Africa” by improving traceability and also enabling processing.


He was confident that the project will contribute significantly to increasing production, improve quality, and contribute greatly towards the economic growth of the countries involved.


The project will in addition to enhancing cashew nut production, promote training and research, and contribute to average growth of 10% in cashew yields among program participants, he said.   


Managing Director of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), Ernest Mintah, who participated in the launch online,  believes the PRO-Cashew project is a good intervention to West Africa’s cashew sector.


According to him, the project will provide support to farmers to increase their crop quality and create a viable linkage between farmers and the other value chain actors such as processors, while also providing market information to stakeholders.


These, he believes, will go a long way to increase the income level of farmers thereby reducing poverty in cashew producing areas.


The good thing, according to him, is that the project will support collaborations and discussions between the private and public sectors in terms of policy formulation and implementation within the cashew sector.


“The Consultative International Cashew Council (CICC) will be one of the structures they will deal with. In Ghana, for instance, the Tree Crops Development Authority and the Cashew Council Ghana and the ACA will be key partners for them”, he said in an interview.   


The PRO-Cashew project will be implemented through capacity building, grants to stakeholders, developing an integrated data system, and also improving policy and regulatory frameworks in the countries.


The five-year project which started last year and officially launched Thursday will end in September 2024.