The complex, global supply chain of cashew nuts sustains livelihoods in all parts of the world, from farmers in West Africa through processing in South East Asia to retail worldwide. Global production of cashew nuts has grown by 6% annually during the last decade and a quarter of the world’s cashew nuts are grown in Cote d’Ivoire. Less than 10% of the nuts grown in West Africa are processed here, the rest is exported for processing mainly in Vietnam and India.
Despite the potential of this product, many challenges remain particularly at the farmer and processing levels of the supply chain with regards to sustainability, working conditions and living income. At farmer level, poor representation and volatile commodity prices often force farmers to sell their nuts at rates inferior to living income, and the lack of skills in sustainable agricultura practices compromises environmental standards, productivity and quality. As for processing units, fragmented local SMEs struggle with an unequal power balance relative to the global supply chain dominated by large players and fail to access a steady supply of raw material.
Inades Formation, an Ivorian NGO that for decades has worked to empower rural communities through capacity development will in this project target sustainability and livelihood challenges at farmer and SME processor level. Through creating new linkages between the stakeholders in the Ivorian cashew sector, improving representation of farmers through strengthening farmers’ organisations and building technical capacity in marginalised communities, the project seeks to improve sustainability performance and market access for smallholder farmers and SME processors.
Ethical Trade Norway and its retail members will lift learnings from the Ivorian context upstream the supply chain and allow for stakeholder dialogue on human rights and environmental due diligence of buyers and retailers as well as new direct linkages between processors and European buyers.