CASHEW NUT PRODUCTION INCREASE: BENINCAJU PROVIDES CASHEW INDUSTRY STAKEHOLDERS WITH AN INTERNATIONAL EXPERT TO SUPPORT AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH.
From August 27 to October 1, 2021, the International Expert, Specialist of the cashew value chain, Professor Peter MASAWE, carried out, on the request of the BeninCajù project, a support-consulting mission for research and development.
Benin aims to increase its cashew nut production from 130,000 to 300,000 tons/year by 2026. The achievement of this objective requires a production which, in terms of seedlings, must reach 2 million per year to be carried out by the nurserymen that the BeninCajù project currently accompanies. In order to achieve this goal, it is essential to strengthen the nurserymen's capacity to produce high-performance plant material.
In this regard, TechnoServe has requested the intervention of Professor Peter MASAWE in order to benefit from his experience in research in the cashew sector for the benefit of Benin. It should be recalled that the interventions of the Professor started since 2019 in Benin where he had criss-crossed all the cashew production communities, and demonstrated to nurserymen and producers, the techniques of manufacturing Bokashi, a substrate based on local materials promoting an efficient process of production of plant material. His mission continued throughout the month of September 2021 to observe and evaluate the implementation of cashew seedling production and nursery installation techniques that he had taught the actors.
The audience at the Cabinet of the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries gave the top to this field mission of which he presented the exhaustive agenda to the Minister. Read more here.
« I started producing cashew in 1998 where I harvested a basin of nuts valued at 3,000F CFA. I knew BeninCajù in 2019 with a coach who came to sensitize and train us several times on plantation maintenance techniques, plant selection, good production practices, harvesting and post-harvest, cultural association. The application of this knowledge has allowed me to increase my yield. Currently, I harvest 15 bags of nuts per hectare per year, which brings me 300,000 francs », Biba SAKA KOTO, a cashew nut producer, told us with a smile when we went to meet her during the month of September 2021 in N'dali (474 km from Cotonou).
With the support of BeninCajù , in just 3 years, Biba earns 100 times more than what she always earned during 21 years.
She was born in N'dali in northern Benin. In her fifties, widow and mother of 4 children, Biba is an agricultural enthusiast. She cultivates several varieties including cotton, corn, soybeans, rice, yams, millet and beans. Her assiduity to the trainings of the BeninCajù project and her bravery earned her the title of Producer Leader (capable of relaying the agricultural trainings received from BeninCajù to her peers) and Responsible for training and literacy at the FENAPAB Parakou. Read more here.
The USDA-funded BeninCajù project, implemented by TechnoServe, supports a number of cashew industry stakeholders, including cashew apple juice processors.
TechnoServe has requested support from Partner for Development (PfD) to continuously improve the quality of existing cashew juice and develop new by-products; explore and test innovative packaging to reduce the unit cost and improve the affordability of cashew juice; effectively market and distribute cashew juice; and facilitate access to national, regional, and international markets.
PfD is implementing the PINEX project, "Pineapple Processing for Export," also funded by the USDA and aimed at processing pineapple for export for eight (08) years in the six southern departments of Benin and Zou.
Since 2020, the partnership between PfD and TechnoServe has made it possible to develop and launch on the national and sub-regional markets several varieties of cashew apple juice cocktails with other fruit species. These include cashew apple-pineapple, cashew apple-baobab, cashew apple-tamarind, cashew apple-ginger and cashew apple-watermelon. Read more here.
Following the AFOKANTAN and TOLARO GLOBAL factories, ANI (Africa Negoce Industries), a cashew processing factory in Benin, will soon obtain organic certification, allowing it to comply with EU and US regulations.
Organic certification is a system by which the conformity of products to a given standard is determined and confirmed. The final result is a certificate (proof of vigilance and seriousness of the collective or individual dynamics). Certification meets the needs of consumers who are looking for quality products and the expectations of citizens demanding environmentally friendly practices. It must be said that the global market for organic products is growing rapidly and represents an important opportunity for the actors in the sector to increase their income. The development of organic cashew nuts allows the marketing of good quality products, favourable to a healthy diet and the satisfaction of the supply demand of many countries, including those of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
As organic cashew nuts are sold at 20-30% higher prices than conventional cashew nuts, it is a solution for both producers and processors to increase their margins and ensure a certain sustainability of profits. In order to effectively support the creation of a national organic cashew market, the USDA-funded BeninCajù project, implemented by TechnoServe Benin and CRS, is opting to work alongside processors through its nut processing component to facilitate the achievement of organic certification. Read more here.
ACCESS TO FINANCING: BENINCAJU TRAINS SFD (DECENTRALIZED FINANCIAL SYSTEMS) ON CASHEW CREDIT ANALYSIS TOOLS
Subsequent to the professionalization program of the SFD (Decentralized Financial Systems) started since 2020, the BeninCajù project proceeded in August 2021 to the training of the field agents of these partner institutions on cashew nut credit analysis tools.
The cashew nut sector is today one of the opportunities for the improvement of incomes and the creation of jobs in rural areas. As a result, the Beninese Government's Action Program has retained cashew nuts as one of the priority sectors to be promoted in the framework of agricultural diversification. Likewise, many TFPs, including the USDA, the donor of the BeninCajù Project implemented by TechnoServe Benin and CRS, are joining the State's efforts by investing more in the developm ent of this sector.
However, notwithstanding the efforts of the various partners, this sector still faces multiple constraints, including the poor access of producers to appropriate financing. It is in view of this situation that the BeninCajù project has deemed it appropriate to improve the knowledge of financing actors on the cashew nut value chain and the business opportunities presented by the production link, so that they can provide effective financial support to this link. In this regard, the year 2020 was marked by several training workshops organized by the "Access to Financing" component of the project.
« The general objective of these training sessions is to equip the actors of the SFD to take appropriate decisions in favor of the financing of the production, with for specific objectives, a better understanding of the value chain and its advantages for the financing of the cashew nut production; a better knowledge of the business opportunities of the links of the production, the factors of risks and the elements of mitigation; the elements of appreciation of the requests for loans of cashew nut producers. BeninCajù is strongly committed to achieving these objectives.» Ella WAMA, Access to Finance and Gender Specialist/BeninCajù. Read more here.
orn in the town of Tchaourou, 359 km from Cotonou in northern Benin, Amadou, in his fifties, is the President of the Regional Union of Cashew Growers (URPA) Borgou-Alibori. Married with nine children, he is passionate about agriculture, particularly cashew farming, which he started 20 years ago in association with other crops such as corn and soybeans that he cultivates on an 8-hectare plantation.
He has known the BeninCajù project since 2016 which trained him on the spacing of trees to prune. Before, cashew was planted like corn. The dimensions were not respected.
"Before BeninCajù, I knew nothing about rehabilitation, pruning, my plantations were like simple vegetation. I produced 200 kg of cashew nuts per season. I had no agricultural or commercial skills. I joined the BeninCajù project in 2016. I received training on plantation maintenance techniques, plant selection, good production, harvesting and post-harvest practices, and crop association. The application of this knowledge allowed me to increase my yield. Currently, I produce 800 kg of nuts per hectare per year. " Amadou OROU GOURA. Read more here.
From August 12 to 14, 2021, Savalou shone with the 2nd edition of the agropastoral fair of its commune. The BeninCajù project financed by USDA and implemented by TechnoServe and CRS was a partner in the event. Located in the south-central part of the country in the Collines department, Savalou is a municipality in Benin that stretches nearly 58 km from west to east and covers an area of 2,674 km², or 2.37% of the national territory. 17.84% of the commune's territory is cultivated, i.e. 30% of the cultivable area, which corresponds to 45,300 ha. Belonging to the agro-zone of high food crop production (yams, cashew nuts, maize, cassava, cowpeas, chili peppers and lowland rice), cattle and small ruminant farming complements the national livestock population available. The economic potential of the commune of Savalou is based primarily on extensive agriculture supervised by the Agence Territoriale de Développement Agricole Borgou Sud - Donga - Collines (ATDA 4), local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Union Communale des Producteurs (UCP). There is at least one Village Group (GV) in all 52 villages of the commune. These increasingly dynamic GVs are organized into unions or cooperatives. All this potential of the Collines region deserves to be developed and highlighted. This was the reason for the Agricultural Days of the Commune of Savalou in 2020. Following these achievements, it proved useful to create an opportunity to promote and enhance the agricultural potential of the commune of Savalou through an Agropastoral Fair. This departmental fair, which was held from August 12 to 14, 2021, brought together the actors of the agricultural sectors of the Collines Department and its six (6) Communes. The House of the Association of Development of the Commune of Savalou (ADCS) served as a framework for the events of this agropastoral event which brought together farmers, breeders, fish farmers and processors of agricultural products, institutional actors such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the prefectural and communal authorities, technical and financial partners including the BeninCajù project. Read more here.
COOPERATION TECHNOSERVE - FAGACE: SIGNING OF A PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT FOR THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICA.
On Thursday, July 8, 2021, the premises of the African Guarantee and Economic Cooperation Fund (FAGACE) served as the setting for the official signing ceremony of a partnership agreement between TechnoServe and FAGACE. This agreement aims to define the framework, conditions and terms of cooperation between the two institutions in order to pool their skills, know-how and financial resources for the promotion of entrepreneurial initiatives in Africa. The missions of the two institutions are similar in terms of their contribution to the economic and social development of the countries where they operate in Africa.
TechnoServe is an American international non-profit organization that works with entrepreneurs in developing countries to create competitive farms, businesses and industries. Working in 29 countries around the world, TechnoServe is the leading institution in its efforts to leverage the private sector's ability to mobilize resources to help people lift themselves out of poverty. By facilitating their access to information, technology, capital and markets, it has helped millions of them secure sustainable prosperity for their families and communities. With more than 50 years of proven results in agriculture, coffee, cashew, entrepreneurship, food preparation, and microenterprise, TechnoServe's global impact includes 298,000 beneficiaries reached, 39% of whom are women; $188 million in increased income and wages generated as a result of its work; and facilitating the mobilization of $27 million in loans and equity provided to farmers and businesses by financial institutions....
Read more here.
The "Farmer Support" component of BeninCajù project, financed by the USDA and implemented by TechnoServe Bénin in partnership with CRS, has been conducting awareness sessions on "cooperative life, marketing and organic farming" for cashew nut producers since March 2021. To date, more than 16,900 producers have been reached during the various awareness sessions, with 51.68% of the sensitized producers joining. These producers are committed to the process of forming efficient and viable cooperative companies that should be grouped together for the 2021 marketing year, zoned by village and district, in order to be connected to buyers for the sale of raw conventional cashew nuts.
To this end, communal exchange and networking workshops were organized during the month of April 2021, to contribute to the development of commercial links between the groups of producers voluntarily brought together and the partner buyers. At the end of these workshops, a collection of forecasts of conventional cashew nuts was made with the individual producers sensitized. The sales forecasts thus collected are made available and shared with interested buyers as they come in. Also, each of the buyers, according to their chosen area of preference, is connected to the producers and producer groups. BeninCajù's Coach Trainers have significantly facilitated this connection by collecting 1076 tons of cashew nut forecasts that are communicated to interested buyers. The team is more than proud of this. Read more here.
Françoise, a woman in her thirties, was born in Savè, 253 km from Cotonou. She comes from a family of farmers and went to school until the 4th grade. She is married and has 4 children. Very willing, she started the production of cashew seedlings in 2017 by following the steps of her husband who has been doing it since 2016 and who was reluctant to have her kill the plants. She started with plating, which was very difficult. "At first, I grafted 19 plants, 17 of which held up. It was from there that my husband understood that I am a pruning hand. So I launched myself and I had made 6000 plants. I knew the BeninCajù project in 2018. BeninCajù trained us on grafting techniques (veneer and terminal slit) and on the manufacture of efficient plant material, the bokashi which is an organic substrate to obtain rich, green plants in large quantities; this allowed me to realize 14 000 plants in 2020. I also benefited from equipment (watering cans, sieves, sprayers, pots, shovel)." Françoise PELEBE YABI.
In order to accompany the nurserymen and women to increase their production of cashew seedlings and by ricochet, the orchards, BeninCajù financed the intervention of two international experts who taught them the techniques of manufacture of Bokashi, a very powerful plant material which favors the production. In addition to the training on grafting techniques and bokashi, BeninCajù has initiated a professionalization program for cashew tree nurserymen. This program consists in training them on modules related to the growth of their enterprise, how to determine their production costs, calculate their profit and increase their income; the adapted management tools (journal: bank, expenses, sales); the suppliers' account, the customers' account); marketing and financial projection; the growth plan and the financing of the growth plan. The Covid-19 pandemic that appeared in March 2020 in Benin affected Françoise's daily life and activities. Contrary to her habits, it was rather her husband who made all the trips to the markets for supplies in order to preserve Françoise and their children. Read more here.
Françoise in full preparation of the Bokashi