Cashew processors. Vietnam and India have some of the best in the business. Africa and specifically West Africa have some very impressive facilities, but due to various factors, the environment poses many challenges for the future of processing. BUT. The opportunities abound. Governments, like that of Côte d’Ivoire, are implementing various policies to make it more difficult to export the raw cashews out of West Africa, thus keeping more in-country for local processors; the World Bank is investing $200 million in Côte d’Ivoire’s cashew industry and supply chain, a large chunk of which is dedicated for local processing. Naturally with any new industry, there are growing pains. Vietnam and India did not start out with fully optimized processing capabilities. It took time.
Mammoth investments are being made in processing here. The excitement is tangible in how the new processors describe their endeavors – home-grown improvement of the value and supply chains, farmer assistance programs to ensure quality and quantity, clean and substantial locker rooms as well as well-furnished cafeterias for the employees, sights set on certified, traceable Ivoirian cashews, etc. Where there is a will (or even a joel), there is a way. Figuring out how best to invest here and what trajectory to set out on knowing that the strategy may and will likely have to be malleable, keeps one on his or her toes – toes that are typically, naturally pointing forwards. The future. It’s here and there. But more importantly, it’s now.
The cashew season is soon entering into the second flowering, second harvest meaning it’s time to continue looking for product and at the same time begin to strategize a modified approach for the 2019 campaign. Where to position ourselves locally keeping in mind the global market, what areas to focus on, and how to leverage resources, networks and knowledge to ensure a successful remainder of this year, next year, next five to ten years and beyond – all provide for great and infinite thinking fodder to pair with a morning cup of coffee.