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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