Burkina Faso's cashew sector has been re-made, as a matter of national priority
Burkina Faso’s cashew industry is in the midst of a drastic makeover.
Since a 2015 reorganization through an inter-professional association called the Comité interprofessionnel de l’anacarde du Burkina (CIA-B) — supported by development partners, the private sector and government efforts — the sector is both growing and optimising.
Prior to this, the African country's 10 industrial cashew factories managed to process only 2.6 percent of their capacity. The industry faced a “black market” that saw all the country's raw cashews exported that year, leaving fledgling factories struggling with no material with which to work, claims Hang Tran, a senior coordinator with the The World Trade Organization's Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF). Other African nations, like the Ivory Coast, have seen similar difficulties.
This inter-professional effort has brought together actors to work together along the entire value chain, from processing to commercialisation. It connects qualified raw material suppliers with the international market, while also building on the capacity of a number of pilot “processing units,” as well as training industry members on the best manufacturing practices and modes of standard compliance.
An important industry to the country, processing raw cashews creates jobs and means the product can be exported for a higher price, earning farmers, processors, and exporters a higher income. An EIF Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) supports this data. The Government of Burkina Faso has chosen the cashew industry as a national priority sector.
During an interview with the Executive Director of the EIF Executive Secretariat in Buenos Aires — on the sidelines of the WTO Ministerial Conference — Burkina Faso's Minister of Trade, Industry and Handicrafts Stéphane Wenceslas Sanou stated that his country intends to double its cashew production by 2020 in view of the sector's contribution to improving incomes and creating jobs.
“As the world’s demand for cashews grows, particularly in India and China, our cashew farmers, processors, and exporters need to be able to reap the benefits. But the sector has been fragmented between the production, processing and commercialisation,” says Mr. Paulin Zambelongo, Coordinator of the EIF National Implementation Unit (NIU) in the Ministry of Trade of Burkina Faso. “Though exporting raw cashews also creates jobs and income, increasing Burkina Faso's processing capacity helps form a thriving secondary industry in the country.”
It was on this basis that key actors decided to collaborate — with technical and financial support from various partners and the government — to strengthen the connections along the value chain and boost industry returns to the economy of Burkina Faso.