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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