Sustained global demand for cashew has helped Guinea-Bissau’s farmers rake in record prices, but the industry wants a crack at more revenue by processing the wonder nut at home.
Demand for cashew has risen 31 per cent globally over the last decade, according to the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC), driven by its popularity in Asia and the nut’s image as a healthy ingredient in the West.
“I have never earned as much money as this year,” said Braima Seidi, a cashew farmer who has collected enough this season to build a house, purchase a motorbike, and buy a tonne of rice for his family.
“I always managed about two-and-a-half tonnes, but as the prices were low my income was too,” Seidi said, celebrating a three-tonne harvest this time.
Cashew nuts grow nestled against a fruit, and entire families in Guinea-Bissau gather during harvest season to pull them from the trees, separate the nuts and pack them into sacks destined for the capital.
The fruits are pressed and the liquid that seeps out stored to make juice or ferment a type of wine, while the pulp is dried to produce feed for livestock.
In this deeply impoverished West African nation, where 12 per cent of land is dedicated to cashew production, GDP is projected to be up 5.2 per cent this year, UN Special Representative to Guinea-Bissau Modibo Toure said in late August, thanks in part to the high prices. Read more