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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
From February 24 to 28 2020, TechnoServe_Bénin received in its premises in Cotonou and Parakou, the visit of USDA, donor of the BeninCajù project in the person of Mr. Waleed (Will) RABIEH, Senior International Program Specialist, Foreign Agricultural Service, US Department of Agriculture.
His stay was marked by an audience with the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, then the Minister of Industry and Trade, exchanges meetings with project staff and field visits to touch on the activities of the BeninCajù project throughout the cashew value chain (nurseries, growers, nut processing plants, cashew apple processing plants), and discussions with some clients and beneficiary partners.
«I am impressed by the number of effective producers already trained in the field by BeninCajù while the project is not yet finished. I congratulate you on this achievement. Women represent the largest workforce in cashew processing, and I am proud of the job creation that BeninCajù has created for this segment of the population....» Waleed RABIEH.
During his meeting with all stakeholders, he emphasized USDA's commitment and availability to support the cashew industry in its development in Benin.
He also congratulated and encouraged the staff of BeninCajù for their efforts and hard work in achieving the project's objectives.
« Although many problems still need to be solved in Benin's cashew sector, BeninCajù's progress over the past four years has been remarkable. We are on track to process nearly 50 per cent of Benin's production by the end of the project and make a positive impact on the lives of more than 50,000 farmers. This project is a model of the success that can be achieved in the African cashew nut sector. As USDA continues to invest in the sector, we will view the successes of BeninCajù as a barometer of what can be accomplished through the diligent work of partners like TechnoServe» Waleed RABIEH.
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The sixth edition of the World Cashew Convention (WCC) coupled with the third edition of the National Cashew Days of Côte d'Ivoire (JNCC 2020) was held from 12 to 14 February 2020 in Abidjan. It was in the presence of the Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire, Mr. Amadou Gon Coulibaly. This year's theme is: ''Building a Sustainable Ecosystem for the Global Cashew Industry''.
Jointly organized by cashewinfo.com and the Association of Cashew Nut Exporters of Côte d'Ivoire (AEC-CI), this convention is a global platform for important information, discussions, networking and business links in the cashew sector.
In addition to the national stakeholders of the cashew sector in Côte d'Ivoire, the convention brought together representatives from the cashew producing countries Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Togo and Guinea Bissau, as well as from the cashew importing countries Vietnam and India, the two largest cashew processors in the world. Overall, more than 36 countries were represented and 600 participants attended.
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The National Council of Cashew Exporters of Benin (CoNEC-Benin) in collaboration with the National Federation of Buyers of Agricultural and Tropical Products of Benin (FENAPAT-Benin), the Interprofession of the Cashew Nut Industry of Benin (IFA-B) and its partners, organized with the support of the BeninCajù project, the first edition of the BENIN CASHEW DAY 2020.
This unprecedented event which was held on January 24, 2020 at Golden Tulip Hotel, had, as main objective, to reflect on a model of continuous improvement of the cashew nut marketing system in Benin, and to sensitize the actors on the general provisions required to ensure the smooth running of the 2020 cashew marketing campaign.
The theme of this first edition is entitled: "Improving the cashew marketing system in Benin: State of play, Challenges and Prospects". More details Here
DIGITALIZATION OF CASHEW INDUSTRY IN BENIN: OPINIONS AND EXPECTATIONS OF THE BENEFICIARIES OF THE CajùLab PROJECT
The CajùLab project funded by #Wehubitimpactfuldigitalproject and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), then implemented by TechnoServe Bénin aims to contribute to the scaling up and adoption of best practices in Smart Agriculture facing the climate in Bénin. This will be done by improving the supply of training services on climate-smart agriculture in the cashew sector, particularly in the production chain. The project will use drones and artificial intelligence to automate the assessment of land management, soil and plantation conditions, etc.
This project will impact various stakeholders in the cashew sector, notably public institutions such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP), the Territorial Agency for Agricultural Development pole 4 (ATDA4), associations of producers in the sector such as the National Federation of Cashew Producers of Benin (FENAPAB), producers, etc.
The success of CajùLab depends on the effective involvement of the various stakeholders and / or beneficiaries so that they play their roles properly and that their opinions and expectations are integrated into the decision-making process of the project. This will significantly improve the quality of decisions by making interactions more effective and constructive. To this end, it is crucial that these different stakeholders have a better knowledge of the project in order to give their opinions and expectations.
It is in this context that TechnoServe Bénin organized on December 5, 2019 in Parakou, a session of presentation of the CajùLab project to cashew producers and to partner organizations of the sector that are: the Territorial Agency for Agricultural Development 4 (ATDA4) / MAEP, the National Federation of Cashew Producers of Benin (FENAPAB) and its branches, the National Federation of Certified Cashew Nursery of Benin (FeNaPAC-Benin) as well as some producers.
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