USDA, TechnoServe Sign 3-Year, $15M Grant Supporting Cashew Farmers
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Nampula, Mozambique, September 19, 2013 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and TechnoServe intend to enter into a three-year grant agreement to support small-scale cashew producers, processing factories and the Government of Mozambique’s ongoing efforts to reduce poverty. This $15 million Food for Progress-funded project will support the cashew industry by harnessing global market demand for premium cashew kernel and addressing obstacles throughout the value chain, including in the areas of inputs, production, processing and marketing. In total, this project will support 30,000 smallholder cashew farmers by increasing their productivity and competitiveness as well as connecting them to new markets.
Mozambique, a world leader in production and processing, is known for producing high-quality cashews. Additionally, the Mozambican cashew industry has globally recognized standards in product traceability, labor and environmental sustainability. The MozaCajú project responds to increased demand for traceable cashew kernel as well as new commitments by several key global retailers to pay a premium for this guarantee. The project will also introduce a sustainable system of shared value and traceability throughout the cashew value chain in Northern Mozambique.
Among other assets, traceability at the individual farmer level facilitates organic certification and supports food safety audits. Toward this end, TechnoServe will work with seven of the top Northern Mozambican processors to achieve the highest level of food safety systems in order to supply some of the world’s most demanding markets, including the United States, which represents 40 percent of all global cashew demand. Already, two major international buyers, Whole Foods Market and Costco Wholesale, have made a commitment to help develop the Mozambican cashew industry, and several additional buyers have expressed an interest in roasting within Mozambique and shipping under a new private label.
Critical to the successful implementation of this project is TechnoServe’s partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation and its long-standing expertise working with Mozambican farmers. Over 40 percent of Mozambican farmers – nearly one million households – grow cashew, one of the few reliable cash crops that farmers are able to grow in the country. Smallholder farmers are responsible for more than 95 percent of the country’s cashew production. In Nampula province, cashews account for nearly one-fifth of total household income and approximately two-thirds of total cash income. This project will directly support almost 30,000 producers through direct agricultural extension, nursery development and demonstration plots.
“This partnership is designed to bring cashew producers closer to cashew consumers, creating added value for both,” said Jake Walter, TechnoServe country director for Mozambique.
TechnoServe has played a central role in the revitalization of the cashew processing industry in Mozambique, assisting the country to become the largest exporter of processed cashew in Africa, and the fourth largest in the world after Vietnam, India and Brazil. TechnoServe has been providing technical assistance in Mozambique to agribusinesses in sectors with high growth potential since 1998. In the past five years, TechnoServe-assisted businesses in Mozambique have generated more than $76 million in revenue, purchased raw material from more than 154,000 smallholder producers and created more than 6,200 jobs.
TechnoServe works with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries. We are a nonprofit organization that develops business solutions to poverty by linking people to information, capital and markets. Our work is rooted in the idea that given the opportunity, hardworking men and women in even the poorest places can generate income, jobs and wealth for their families and communities. With more than four decades of proven results, we believe in the power of private enterprise to transform lives.