West Africa is the heart of the world’s cashew industry. Most of the world’s supply is grown by smallholder farmers in countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso and Ghana, yet these small-scale producers rarely reap the benefits. Improvements in production and processing can create positive social and environmental impacts and provide a powerful boost to the economy. In Benin, for example, cashew is the second-most valuable export, with annual production reaching nearly 140,000 tons.
Red River Foods has partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to improve the capacity of local cashew producers and contribute to regional value addition efforts. We are constructing cashew processing facilities in Côte d’Ivoire and, in the process, transferring processing technology and expertise to indigenous communities. Over the next 5 years, we will train over 10,950 cashew farmers, suppliers, and processors in good agricultural practices (GAP) and food safety to scale their capacity and improve the export readiness of their products. In the process, we’re creating nearly 500 jobs spanning Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and the United States.