Cashew Value Chain Part 2: Promoting a Sustainable Production of Cashew Nuts

In our previous post, we cracked through the cashew nut supply chain, unshelling some pressing issues for farmers and other agri-business players involved. Here, we’re getting our food’s first mile traceability software out of its digital shell to show how to resolve these issues.

How Cashew Nut Farmers Can Cash In on a Digital Opportunity

Smallholder farmers account for most of the world’s poor having an income of less than $2 a day. Although cashews could be white gold for them, growers are not getting what they deserve from their trade. To add to that, climate change is not helping by biting into their cashew farming land. Falling in this vulnerable group, cashew nut smallholders should invest in climate-resilient technologies to future-proof their livelihood. Yet, this is often a mission impossible as they can’t provide extensive financial records.

With these concerns in mind, we created a food traceability software that uplifts cashew nut farmers’ bottom line in multiple ways:

  • Recording Identifiers: (e.g., full name, age, picture, ID number), activities (e.g., pruning, weeding, thinning, etc.), training (e.g., chainsawing, post-harvesting handling, intercropping, etc.) and yields, cooperatives and/or exporters can have a better oversight on farmers needs and can therefore supercharge their productivity.
  • Strict Quality Requirements: If farmers’ produce doesn’t comply with them, growers will get paid less or not at all. That’s why our agricultural supply chain software allows buyers to upload inspection observations and quality test results gathered at different stages (e.g., pre & post-drying, pre-shipping). Also, once spotted any issues at the farm, exporters could harness our tool to relay valuable advice to farmers (e.g., an optimal number of trees per acre, proper bee introduction to boost flowering, etc.), thus improving their harvest quality.
  • Acceso: Our platform can be used for recording and managing weather and pest forecasts. As a result, growers can increase their farming resilience and minimise losses.
  • Farmforce Financial Data Bank: Farmers can build a reliable credit history, therefore increasing their chances of accessing loans in the future. By doing so, they can invest in climate-resilient technologies and enhance their well-being.
  • Mapping Fields: Buyers can check that their suppliers are not growing cashew on deforested land. With anti-deforestation laws coming up soon both in the EU and the UK, this will let farmers retain a wider range of market opportunities.

Boosting Cashew Farmers’ Competitiveness

GIZ has developed the Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew) to enhance the competitiveness of African cashew smallholders. As part of this initiative, they provide 40% of the funding to support a proposed project.

Red River Foods, is taking part in the program and used Farmforce to record the training of 800 cashew nut growers in Ghana on sustainable farming techniques. To add to that, they provided farmers with the right tools (chainsaws, pruning & thinning machines) to optimize their cultivation methods. Accordingly, Ghanaian smallholders could increase their yields and therefore improve their living conditions. Overall, the ComCashew program has already picked the fruits of its fair labour. After farmers mastered sustainable agricultural practices, their average yield increased by 55%. Speaking of yields, Red River Food collects the number of cashew nuts sold to them by each farmer. Based on the total figures, they then forecast their yield for next year. By tracking yield forecastings through Farmforce, they could easily spot a negative trend and foretell whether they will meet their production targets.

On top of that, thanks to the Farmforce fields mapping functionality, Red River Foods mapped 500 farms, thus ensuring cashew nut production traceability from field to vessel in Ghana. Our supply chain visibility software could tackle deforestation and implies a dual benefit. Besides safeguarding farmers’ market linkages, exporters can secure a regulation-proof trade.