In the expectation to accompany cashew nut producers to a better redevelopment in accordance with the OHADA Uniform Act relating to the law of Cooperative Societies (AUSCOOP), the BeninCajù project gives all its support to the actors of the sector.
During the month of August 2020, a two-day reflection and planning workshop on the redevelopment of the cooperative movement - Cashew sector - FENAPAB was organized by the ''Support to producers'' component of the BeninCajù project. It was in Komiguéa, in the north of Benin, with the active participation of several structures such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP), the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIC), the Departmental Directorate of Agriculture, of Livestock and Fisheries (DDAEP), the Agency for the Promotion of Imports and Exports (APIEX), the Chamber of Agriculture, the Interprofession of the Cashew Industry (IFA), the Technical and Financial Partners (PTFs), the FENAPAB networks - Producer Organizations (POs).
For the thirty or so participants, these two days of reflection focused in particular on:
1. A reminder of the context of the workshop and a brief overview of the provisions of AUSCOOP relating to the structuring of the cooperative movement;
2. The presentation and discussion of the different structuring options;
3. The elaboration of an action plan for restructuring;
4. The establishment of a restructuring support committee;
5. The presentation of the professionalization program of BeninCajù ;
6. The evaluation-synthesis of the workshop and determination of the next steps.
The series of speeches delivered respectively by the President of FENAPAB, the BeninCajù Head of Mission, the Director of Internal Trade Promotion of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, then the APRM Technical Adviser on Takeover Bids, highlighted the importance of the cashew nut sector for the country's economic development. Read more here.
For women and girls in the developing world, COVID-19 exacerbates existing inequalities and creates new challenges. In Benin, cashew producers like Elisabeth ATCHADE must juggle many responsibilities, including earning money for the household while taking on the majority of duties including childcare. Find out here, how the BeninCajù project is helping women meet these challenges and emerge even stronger from the crisis.
Born in the commune of Tchaourou, 359 km from Cotonou, Elisabeth, in her thirties, comes from a family of cashew nut, corn and soybean farmers. Married and mother of 4 children, she traded various items such as cake, peanuts, sugar, oranges, mangoes. She benefited from a half hectare of land from her father since she was young, which she has developed into a cashew tree plantation since 2005. She started her collaboration with the BeninCajù project 4 years ago.
" With BeninCajù, I received a lot of training on good agricultural practices, plantation maintenance, agricultural equipment, etc.... I produced 200 kg of cashew nuts per season. For this year's campaign, I harvested 450Kg of nuts." Elisabeth ATCHADE.
Elisabeth's income has increased significantly with the increase in her production. Very dynamic, Elisabeth has been noted for her ability to apply all the trainings of the BeninCajù project on production techniques, pre and post harvest. BeninCajù has therefore designated her as a Proleader (Producrice Leader). Read more here.
Elisabeth in the middle of a demonstration and learning session with her peers on agricultural practices. Tchaourou, 2020
Elisabeth in her cashew tree plantation: one of her sons looks at her proudly! Tchaourou 2020
In 2016, the BeninCajù project for the integration and acceleration of the cashew sector in BENIN, funded by USDA and implemented by TechnoServe Bénin in partnership with CRS, was launched. Benefiting producers, processors, professional associations of the cashew sector, and public structures concerned with the development of the sector, the general objective of BeninCajù is to strengthen and expand the cashew sector and make it more productive and profitable for the benefit of Benin's socio-economic development. BeninCajù implements its activities through 6 components namely: Production, Cashew Nut and Apple Processing, Sector Policy-Institutional Support, Access to Finance, Gender, and Farmers Support.
The Access to Finance component builds the capacity of small and large financing institutions and deals with client outreach. It includes a grant fund which is the Fund for Innovation and Enterprise Development (FIDE). The objective of FIDE is to complement the ongoing interventions of the BeninCajù project to promote and accelerate innovation and the adoption of improved technologies, and to fill short-term gaps in financing investments in the cashew sector.
Two actors in the sector, including NASSARA BENIN, beneficiaries of FIDE, have already been supported by this fund on various projects in connection with producers and the subsidy lines approved by BeninCajù in this regard amount to nearly 150 million FCFA. NASSARA is a pioneer in Benin in the production, processing and export of certified organic and fair trade cashew nuts.
Read more Here.
Visit of an organic cashew tree plantation in Nikki by BeninCajù.
Salomée WOROU GOURA was born in Tchaourou in 1982. Very early on, she was introduced to the trade of various food products such as corn, yams, soybeans, wholesale gari as well as the purchase and resale of sheep and oxen. Married and mother of 2 children, she acquired 10 years ago an 8-hectare estate to turn it into a cashew tree plantation. She started her collaboration with the BeninCajù project 3 years ago.
"With BeninCajù, I received a lot of training on good agricultural practices, plantation maintenance and agricultural equipment. I produced 900 kg of cashew nuts per season. For this year's campaign, I harvested 2100 kg of nuts. I was encouraged to join my local SILC group. There, I was able to participate in the savings and obtain a credit that allowed me to buy two plots in Tchaourou and Tchatchou." Salome WOROU GOURA.
Salomée's income has increased considerably with the increase in her production. She is adjusting her business schedule so that she can always follow the training courses offered by BeninCajù on production techniques and how the SILC group works, a crucible that has been of great financial benefit to her.
More details here
From top to bottom, the house and shop that Salomée built with funds from the SILC group set up by BeninCajù and to which she belongs. Tchaourou, July 2020
Since 2015, West Africa has been the world's leading production zone for raw cashew nuts, with a production of over 1,600,000 tons of raw nuts, ahead of Asia (India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia) which is striving to return to its pre-2013 growth (ACA,2018). West Africa is the region of the world whose production is growing strongly thanks to the youthfulness of its orchards and the new plantations set up each year. This expansion is explained by the growing interest of producers in this crop whose requirements are relatively moderate compared to other crops. Moreover, cashew tree cultivation is also complementary to other annual crops (cereals, groundnuts, cotton, etc.), while offering opportunities to combat the harmful effects of climate change.
In recent years, the competitiveness of the Beninese cashew nut has been further strengthened, making Benin the 4th largest producer in Africa. In terms of the national economy, cashew nuts contribute 24.87% to agricultural export revenues, 7% to agricultural GDP and 3% to GDP. It is the country's 2nd export crop after cotton. It currently occupies an area of 285,000 ha with an average yield of 300-400 Kg/ha. The zones or areas favourable for cashew nut production in Benin cover an area of 9,763,836 ha (Kassimou ISSAKA, WCC 2019). The number of jobs created by this activity has increased significantly and now reaches 200,000 people.
The cashew nut sector is therefore today one of the opportunities for improving incomes and creating jobs, particularly in rural areas. As a result, it is a high value-added sector that must be promoted as part of the agricultural diversification process set out in the Government of Benin's Programme of Action in order to benefit from major investments. Among the objectives set is to increase raw cashew nut production from 134,982 tons (2015) to 300,000 tons by 2021. To this end, the National Cashew Nut Development Programme (PNDFA) is being implemented, which includes supporting nurseries, rehabilitating old plantations and bringing them up to standard, as well as setting up new plantations.
More details here
Franck AVIKPO, about thirty, was born in Abomey, 133 km from Cotonou in central Benin. Married and father of one child, he comes from a forest father and a seamstress mother. He spent his school and university studies in Lokossa and Cotonou. Holder of a Master's degree in Geography, he is currently pursuing his Master's studies in Environment, in parallel with his activity of production of cashew tree grafted seedlings that he started in 2015 in his nursery located in Savè, 253 Km from Cotonou. One year later (2016), his collaboration with BeninCajù began.
" Before BeninCajù, my production was 7000 plants per year; I had very little visibility and no means of mobilizing resources for the development of my activity. I worked in the informal sector and my turnover was around 500,000 CFA francs per year. I benefited from many trainings on: substrate preparation (Bokashi), grafting techniques and good nursery management practices in Tanzania to increase my production; donation of agricultural equipment (watering cans, sieve, sprayer, pots, shovel). Today, I produce 20,000 seedlings a year and my turnover has increased to 2,000,000 CFA. I was able to acquire a new site." Franck AVIKPO.
More details here
The actions of BeninCajù project are based on four (4) pillars which are Production, Nuts processing, Sectoral Policy and Institutional Support, and access to financing. All project components work in symbiosis to ensure that the objectives of integration and acceleration of the cashew sector in Benin are effectively achieved. In this perspective, training of producers is implemented according to three models: Gold, Silver and Bronze developed according to the intensity and the time of accompaniment required for producers. The content of these models is essentially made up of the entire package of knowledge to be shared with producers in terms of planting installation techniques, maintenance, disease and pest management, harvesting and post-harvest techniques. The Gold model is implemented over two years, while the Silver and Bronze models cover one year.
The Gold and Silver training models and their follow-up are provided by the CRS partner in collaboration with the NGOs CRADIB, DEDRAS and the National Federation of Cashew Producers of Benin (FENAPAB). In order to promote the appropriation and perpetuation of the project's achievements within the national structures, a partnership has been established between TechnoServe Benin and the Territorial Agricultural Development Agency Pole 4 (ATDA4) to implement the bronze training model (one year) with upstream technical training of trainers (Communal Agricultural Advisors) available in this Agency. The role of the Local Councillors is to pass on this knowledge to the producers in the villages. In order to reinforce these training sessions, TechnoServe Benin carries out post-training follow-up to verify the effective application of good agricultural practices, the content of the training sessions, and the recording of field data on a digital collection platform.
More details here
Partial view of the nursery of Falilatou SINANGBEROU and her husband. A couple of young agricultural entrepreneurs who have experimented and adopted Bokashi, a plant material that is efficient in cashew production. Nikki, May 2020
Born in Bassila, a commune located at 372 km from cotonou in northern Benin, Abdou FATAOU, who is in his thirties, began and completed his schooling at the Lycée MEDJI in Sékou in 2010 where he obtained his Diploma in Tropical Agricultural Studies (DEAT). Specialized in the production of cashew tree grafted seedlings, he started his profession in the cashew sector in 2011 with a 5000 m² site where the cashew tree seedling nursery of which he is the owner extends.
Married and father of 2 children, Abdou launches at the beginning of each campaign, a call for voluntary labor of about fifteen men and women that he trains in grafting plants. His relationship with the BeninCajù project began with a field agent who puts him in touch with CRS, one of whom went to meet him in October 2017.
"The BeninCajù project made me understand that it was committed to accompanying me on a technical level. In February 2018, I was invited for training to improve my grafting skills in order to increase my production. That's when I understood that I had to be attached to it in order to benefit from his support. " Abdou FATAOU.
Fataou had a monthly income of around 150,000 CFA francs from the sale of selected seedlings. He had no cash flow, no direct partnerships, no bank account and no financial stability, no idea what the advertisements could bring him. He produced 5000 plants per season.
More details here
TechnoServe_Bénin has made among its priorities, several activities to raise the awareness of its project stakeholders for a better integration of gender in the different links. This is part of the search for solutions to the factors blocking women's development in cashew growing for example, in the expectation of accelerating the development of production and increasing household income in the sector.
The BeninCajù program works to make Benin's cashew sector more productive, competitive, sustainable and inclusive. Today, we share an overview of the day-to-day activities of a Gender and Access to Finance Specialist working on this program. More details here