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  • Ivory Coast: cashew, from planting to plant

    Jan 13th, 2016

    Become the largest producer of cashew nuts, Ivory Coast now faces the challenge of transformation. Several projects are in the pipeline.

    The Ivory Coast has just under five years to establish itself as the largest producer of cashew nuts, ahead of India. Faced with climate problems, the Asian countries, historic leader of cashew nuts, produced only 600,000 tons this year, when Ivory Coast almost doubled its volumes and reached for the first time the 800 000 t.

    This performance is the result of a reform launched in 2013 and managed by the Council of cotton and cashew (CCA), led by Malamine Sanogo. This revision of the framework was primarily designed to meet the wishes set forth by President Ouattara to optimize production - and quality - to ensure remunerative prices to producers. Improving governance in the sector has also enabled improved traceability of financial flows. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the turnover of all of the cashew sector has increased from 200 billion CFA francs in 2013-337,000,000,000 CFA francs in 2015 (514 million euros), an increase 68.5%.

    It remains to address the challenge of industrialization. Only 7% of the Ivorian production is now processed locally, while India and Vietnam, the third largest producer, transform their entire harvest. "In order to increase local processing, beyond our field projects, we launched the first international exhibition to promote the equipment and cashew upgrading technologies," says Malamine Sanogo.

    Government projects

    To achieve a transformation rate of 35% in 2016, the government launched three major projects, all driven by the CCA. The first is the creation of an experimental unit processing 5000 t in Yamoussoukro, in partnership with the Vietnamese company Viet Mold Machine. The Institut National Polytechnique Felix Houphouet-Boigny (INPHB) in Yamoussoukro and the University of Ho Chi Minh City should provide assistance.

    The second project involves the creation of a bioplastics plant (made from cashew apple juice), whose production could reach 420 000 t per year. Feasibility studies are expected to start next year. On this project, the CCA can rely on the expertise of its partners, always INPHB but also the National Institute of Scientific Research of Canada. The latest initiative, conducted with the Israelis the agro-industrial group Mitrelli, includes the construction of twelve processing plants with a capacity of between 5000 and 15 000 tons per year.

    "Our goal is not to us sub-stituer the private sector, but to bring the culture of transformation and upgrading to Ivorians," says Malamine Sanogo. Private producers will also not expect any government, as demonstrated by the numerous industrial projects developed by the Singapore company Olam and Cajou Ivoire, the Ivorian businessman Vassiriki Konate.