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West Africa’s cashew sector to get $60 million processing boost

• US-backed Prosper Cashew project wants more local processing • Cote d’Ivoire is the top producer, but only processes about 10 percent

AA US-backed project plans to help invest about $60 million in West Africa’s cashew nut industry as part of a goal to boost local processing.

The target was announced by the Prosper Cashew project at an event in Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire, the top cashew producer. Started by non-profit TechnoServe and supported by the US government, it will create a fund to strengthen the commercial viability of processing in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, according to a Bloomberg report.

While West Africa is the biggest cashew producer, only about 10 percent of supplies are processed locally, with most of the nuts exported to Asia for that before being shipped elsewhere. Cote d’Ivoire and the Prosper Cashew project are trying to encourage more to be processed in Africa. The project also says private-sector interest in sourcing from the region is growing, as buyers look to diversify their sourcing footprint and reduce supply risk.

Processing ‘remains our biggest challenge, but the government is working hard to change this,’ said Adama Coulibaly, director of Cote d’Ivoire’s cotton and cashew council. The country aims to process about half of its output by 2025, he said.

Some 4,500 new jobs are expected to be created by project, with planned investment helping processors to sell more than $200 million of cashew products into local and international markets.

At least $30 million of the planned investment will come from funds raised by the Prosper Cashew project, director Krishanu Chakravarty said. Most of the money will be invested in Cote d’Ivoire, where processing will benefit the most, he said.


Leanne de Bassompierre/Bloomberg

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