Cashew farmers are cracking tough nuts
Local farmers take action
Benin has no less than 200,000 small cashew producers. The nuts are therefore of great economical importance for the country. However, the yield of this crop is low and the producers have difficulty financing their farms. Besides, they are not as yet adequately organised and equipped to cope with these challenges. Something had to be done. This was also Eclosio’s opinion, our partner who launched the PESoC-project (Promotion de l’entrepreneuriat des Jeunes et Soutien à la Production du Cajou) in 2020. With the right support, the farmers in Benin can better organise themselves, optimise their production, while also making it more ecological, and even process cashews locally.
PESoC, in a nutshell
What is the best way to maintain your orchard? What is the most ecological way to protect it from pests? How to increase your yield? What is the most efficient way of processing? And how can you improve the cooperation with a cooperative? ... These are just a few of the many questions that will be addressed by the training Eclosio will be providing.
This educational project uses a global and integrated approach, focused on family farming. But what does that mean in practice?
- Coaching youths at the Lycée Technique Agricole (LTA), a secondary school in Natitingou focused on engineering and farming. The goal? Support them as entrepreneurs to set up initiatives that will gradually increase both the added value of their production and their autonomy.
- Help the cooperatives to vary their harvests and provide them with technical and organisational support. This is not only positive for the economic situation of the farmers, but also for the quality of the cashew nuts.
- Support an enriching interaction by analysing, expanding and collecting the acquired experience and knowledge. In this way we can develop a process that will unite the experience and know-how of north and south.
Coaching and support for the future
The PESoC project will run for three years, from 2020 to 2022, in Natitingou and Toucountouna, two municipalities in Benin. In 2020 and 2021, 60 youths from the Lycée Technique Agricole will receive direct coaching. A further 60 young people receive support thanks to the micro-franchising business initiatives.
Cashew nuts, cracked locally
The PESoC project in Benin is linked with a sustainable chain project Colruyt Group supports in collaboration with the Belgian development organisation Enabel. The goal is a shorter and transparent chain, in which the first processing of cashew nuts is done in Benin, and focusing on the working conditions and a correct price for the farmers. Thanks to the collaboration with the cashew farmers, the local community can become socially and economically stronger.
Since April 2020, the cashew nuts from this chain project under private label Boni Selection are available at Colruyt Lowest Prices, OKay and Spar Colruyt Group. The packaging also contains nuts from other Benin farmers. We are now working on a stable chain and a better collaboration and we are doing everything we can to buy the crop of the chain project in 2021 for our Boni product. Moreover, we want to integrate the production of the PESoC project farmers with the chain project.