Organized by the actors of the cashew sector in Mali in collaboration with the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), the Sahelian Cashew Forum (FOCAS), a new event concept on the cashew sector in the West African sub-region, was at its second edition from 5 to 7 August 2019 in Bamako, MALI. The purpose of this conference is to promote sharing and cooperation in improving the competitiveness of the cashew value chain in Sahelian countries.
Various actors from the public and private sectors of the cashew industry of Benin, Burkina-Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bisseau, Ghana, Mali and Senegal, as well as Technical and Financial Partners (PTF), NGOs in the West African sub-region, including TechnoServe, which implements the BeninCajù project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), participated in this edition, which discussed the theme: "Improving the competitiveness of the cashew value chain in Sahelian countries ".
A crucible of sharing between actors in the cashew sector, the 2019 edition of FOCAS was mostly furnished with discussions panels relating to key sub-themes including:
* the evolution of cashew production in the Sahel region: state of play, potential and market trends; * the importance of KOR (quality measurement of cashew nuts) for marketing;
* Economic opportunities of local processing of cashew nuts: how to make processing more competitive in the Sahel: add value to the cashew sector, following the example of Malian industry; * How to organize the private-public dialogue, create a common framework for the good governance of the sector, and set up a system of regulation of the cashew nut sector.
All these sub-topics have been developed with a compass for benchmarking the experiences of Mali, Burkina-Faso, Guinea-Bissau and Côte d'Ivoire. Derivatives exhibition and a visit to a large plantation of cashew trees were also key stages of FOCAS 2019. Indeed, this field visit allowed participants to see the exploits of Tidjiane Traoré, a former migrant who became an example of success in cashew:
* At least 8 varieties of cashew trees have been planted;
* Heavy machinery present on the domain;
* Tidjiane plantation is not a family business, but a big initiative that employs more than 100 permanent employees;
* The estate was bought with the support of the banks;
The next step considered by the promoter is the installation of a cashew processing unit.
The example of this farmer is a case study and corroborates the reliability of this sector for access to financing.
On the initiative of the Benin delegation, a side-meeting was held after the official closing of FOCAS. It brought together the Beninese delegation, that of ACA, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea-Bissau for a brainstorming on the need to help countries that do not yet have an inter-profession committee to dispose of it.
At the end of BeninCajù's mission at this conference, it is expected that the knowledge base of players in the cashew sector in Benin will be strengthened with an opportunity to exchange experiences for the improvement of policies and actions development of this value chain in Benin. The appointment is made for the 2020 edition of FOCAS in Guinea-Bissau.
Graduated from Sékou Agricultural High School cycle 2, option animal production promotion 2016, Bérénice, young lady aged 25, under the coaching of her husband, converted to plant production including the production of seedlings of cashew trees grafted in the commune of Zou in Abomey (133 km from Cotonou). With the support of BeninCajù (training on production techniques, grafting, good practices - training on leadership), its production in recent years has seen a meteoric rise from 4 500 plants in 2017 to 12 000 plants in 2018 and 30 000 plants in 2019, arousing the admiration of its nursery pair.
"BeninCajù is for me, a real booster because, very quickly, I reached this level of realization. I am very proud and more motivated. Our life has totally changed and we have big ambitions for our little family. Thanks to my income from the 2018 campaign, I have acquired a bigger domain for the extension of my nursery. ", Bérénice DAKOVO.
Her dynamism allows her election as Treasurer of the Coopérative of Cashew Producers Grafted (CoPAG) ZOU-COLLINES and Secretary General of FeNaPAC_BENIN. This nursery is one of the three (3) women on the list of forty nurseries selected to benefit from the government's professionalization program. Bérénice DAKOVO demonstrates eagerness and willingness to acquire knowledge to strengthen her skills in the transplanted cashew nursery.
Follow this video to learn more about her success story and her exhortation of young women to join the highly profitable cashew production sector.
Holder of a master's degree in local development and decentralization, Adelaide, a brave 47-year-old woman, embarked on female entrepreneurship 11 years ago in Dassa, a town located 201 km from Cotonou. She runs a cooperative of 17 members. Its cashew processing unit and various other fruits employs 8 permanent staff mostly women and 15 casual agents. AGBARA OLUWA, which means "the divine power" in the Yoruba language, is the name of its Establishment, the first cooperative in Benin to valorize the cashew apple. The production of this unit for the last three years is as follows: 2017: 500,000 bottles of juice including 12500 cashew apple; 2018: 700,000 bottles including 23,412 of cashew apples; 2019: production in progress and 27200 bottles of cashew apple. Adelaide LAOUROU was the first president of GIE (Economic Interest Group) SWEET BENIN driven by BeninCajù.
"With BeninCajù's technical training and support for cashew processing and leadership, our cashew apple juice production has grown by 14700 bottles, or 200% in two years (2017-2019). We aim to reach the 50,000 bottles by 2021. '' Adelaïde LAOUROU.
Her leadership led to her being elected president of the National Union of Cooperative Cashew Apple Producers of Benin, created in March 2019.
She was congratulated and honored by BeninCajù, during the event on '' Gender Performance in Agricultural Value Chains and Female Entrepreneurship '' held in Kouandé on 04 July 2019. A pioneer in the valorization of cashew apple in Benin, Adelaide travels through the countries of the West African subregion as a quality consultant for the valorization of cashew and its derivatives.
Rare woman of her ethnicity (Fulani) in which agri-food processing is not at all the privilege of women, Sanko, the quarantine, upsets habits and is positioned in the valorization of the cashew apple in the commune of Tchaourou / Tchatchou-Boukouséra, 359 km from Cotonou in northern Benin. For six (06) years, with ten women in the cooperative Waduheheba which means "we harvest the fruit of his work" in Fulani language, she travels the plantations of cashew to recover the apple, massively thrown and make juice.
She discovered the hidden treasure in the cashew. She is the president of this women's association and also a member of the GIE Sweet Benin economic interest group supported by BeninCajù. Thanks to its activity, the producers have found in the apple a source of income and sell it today at 25 francs CFA per kg.
''BeninCajù's invaluable support in terms of processing equipment has allowed me to increase my production of cashew apple juice, from 8000 bottles in 2017 to 17000 bottles in 2019. I am very proud and very encouraged Above all, BeninCajù and BeniBiz honored me with a prize and an honor roll for valorizing my work in the cashew sector, in front of the population of Kouandé. What an honor! Thanks to TechnoServe! I project myself to more than 30,000 bottles in 2021." Sanko YACOUBOU.
Holding the record for the largest plantation of cashew trees belonging to a woman in Benin, Ranti is proud of its 33 hectares of cashew plants planted in 1996 in the commune of Dassa, 201 km from Cotonou in central Benin. It has acquired, thanks to the benefit of its trade (sacks of rice), an area of 45 hectares of surface secured by a land title. In addition to cashew, she planted six (6) hectares of teak and 05 hectares of maize seeds.
Becoming a cashew planting plant was his dream and his way of securing a successful retirement, having not had the chance to go to school. Making this plantation and earning income has been the best way for Ranti to take revenge on life because, now in her sixties, she is receiving subsidies for her retirement.
The first eleven years, his farming business was prosperous. But despite the difficulties due to the decline and instability of prices, the promoter remains stoic in arguing that having a plantation is the best investment that is worth.
"BeninCajù has given me a lot of support with coaching, follow-up advice, training on the best production practices, purchase orders for cashew plants and put the spotlight on my work in my day. honoring during a big event ... '' Ranti DOSSOU.
Her leadership has enabled her to raise awareness and incite to become a cashew planting plant, more than six hundred (600) women divided among thirteen women's groups in the communes of Dassa, Glazoué and Savalou.
Unique in Benin to have proposed an alternative to the difficulty of women's access to productive land, the commune of Kouandé (nearly 600 km from Cotonou in northern Benin), currently led by Mayor Abassi MOUSSA facilitated access women producers of cashew trees to land by one of the options of the indirect claim: the concession as provided for in Article 07 of Law No. 2017-15 amending and supplementing Law No. 2013-01 of 14 August 2013 on land and land code in the Republic of Benin.
In fact, against a fee of ten thousand francs (10,000) CFA per year per hectare, dozens of hectares of national plantations of cashew trees were ceded to women's groups in Kouandé center, Birni and Macro.
This initiative has made it possible to increase the participation rate of women within the URCPA (Regional Union of Cashew Producers Co-operatives) Atacora / Donga from 07.39% in 2017 to 13.34% in 2018.
"We are very honored that BeninCajù put our commune in the limelight by choosing our locality for this great event of the valorization of women in the cashew sector. We strongly encourage the other communes of Benin to follow suit! It's about the development of our economy. '' Abassi MOUSSA.
In the same vein, Abou-Bakary GOMINA, Mayor of the commune of Bassila (372 km from Cotonou) also distinguished himself as Mayor of the only municipality of Benin having taken the initiative of popularization of the plantations of cashew by contracting the supply of seedlings with a group of nursery women. The Choukoulè group received an order for 50000 cashew seedlings in 2017. These plants were graciously distributed by the Mayor of Bassila to populations wishing to plant, primarily women.
The municipality has likewise provided for the construction of storage warehouses and cashew processing units for the benefit of the groups of women producers and processors of cashew in the commune. She is also involved in sensitization, motivation and mobilization of women around the activities of the value chains cashew.
"When the efforts are recognized, we can only feel proud! We thank BeninCajù for this distinction and urge women to fight for their place in every link in the production, they have our support and our commitment." Abou Bakary GOMINA.
The two municipal authorities were distinguished by BeninCajù during a high event organized by TechnoServe with the support of the ATDA4 in Kouandé on July 04, 2019 to celebrate the best practices in production (town halls) and the best exploits in this area (women's work). Follow in this video, the Mayor of Bassila!
Young lady of 39 years, Valentine has been practicing nursery for almost twenty (20) years in the town of Djidja (149 km from Cotonou). She was out of school in CM2 and soon began to follow her mother, a worker-grader on behalf of ONAB (National Office for Wood).
She first cooperated with other women on behalf of the PAGEFCOM (Communal Forests Management Support Project) before starting her own business in 2009. Her company employs twelve (12) ) occasional agents and two (02) permanent. She specializes in the nursery of various forest species including cashew. Her production in the last three years is as follows:
2017: 39,000 plants including 12,000 cashew trees
2018: 39,500 plants including 20,000 cashew trees
2019: 25,000 plants including 10,000 cashew trees (production still in progress)
''BeninCajù's many training courses in grafting techniques as well as the regular and constant monitoring of Agricultural Advisers have helped me enormously to improve my production both in quantity and quality. I am able to reproduce these trainings to other people, including my daughter, whom I really hope will be interested in the activity after graduation. By the end of 2019 and 2020, the cashew plants will surely reach 50000 plants."Valentine BADA.
The estate of her nursery was given to her by a maternal uncle. This donation has been formalized by an act of donation that secures the property. Income from her business allowed her to build a house for rent and acquire two undeveloped land. Her desire is to see her daughter today in third class become also nurserywoman.
Richarde, young thirty years old lady living in the town of Bantè located 287 km from Cotonou in central Benin, is the President of the group of women pickers and pre-collectors of nuts and cashew. The work of women in the cashew value chain is remarkable in harvesting and postharvest activities. However, this work is very little valued. Since 2013, in this municipality, women constituted groups in the services of collection, drying, bagging and pre-collection of nuts and cashew.
"BeninCajù trained us in the new picking techniques for nuts and apples, which reinforces our service provision business in return for cash and in-kind remuneration. We train other women on these techniques in various localities. Thanks to the contribution of BeninCajù in materials (scales, jute bags), we work better and more efficiently. " Richarde ASSOGBA.
Active members of the Zou-Collines Regional Union of Cashew Producers (URCPA), these groups have acquired, thanks to the support of various lessors, warehouses.