Improving the lives of 5,000 women in cashew value chain in Côte d’Ivoire
ITC SheTrades West Africa and ofi forge partnership to empower women in the cashew value chain in Côte d’Ivoire, benefitting 5,000 smallholder women cashew farmers.
Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest cashew producer. According to the Cotton and Cashew Council, the annual production of raw cashew nuts reached 950,000 metric tonnes in 2021. Cashew is grown by 400,000 farmers who are supported by the government and other service providers with training, advisory services, and inputs.
However, over 80% of women farmers are unable to access the training due to gender-based constraints, including having no resources and information, limited outreach to women, and lacking recognition for their role in the cashew value chain. This keeps women in poverty. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted women’s lives.
To address these challenges, the International Trade Centre (ITC), through its KOICA-funded SheTrades West Africa project, has forged a two-year partnership with food ingredients specialist ofi (olam food ingredients) through its subsidiary Olam Ivoire S.A to improve women’s livelihoods in the cashew value chain.
As the largest processor of cashew in Africa, ofi’s Côte d’Ivoire team has worked with smallholders for over a decade to scale the positive impact in cashew supply chains. Through partnerships, they help tackle the most pressing issues cashew farmers and their communities are facing.
ITC will support ofi in making the contributions of women in Côte d’Ivoire’s cashew value chain visible, and address gender-based constraints. This will increase women’s access to training and increase their access to markets.
Both partners will build an inclusive farmer extension model benefitting 5,000 women smallholders in Côte d’Ivoire. Valuing women’s contributions and providing them with the needed resources will improve the quality of cashew trade as well as the income of cashew-producing households.
Through ofi's global cashew sustainability strategy, Cashew Trail, the organization is working towards building an inclusive supply chain that includes creating Village Savings and Loans Associations for 5,000 women and achieving 100% participation of registered women in its training programmes by 2030.
At the signing, Diomande Daouda, Cashew Sustainability Manager for Côte d’Ivoire at ofi said: “As a responsible pioneer and leader in the cashew industry, our goal is to support the development of the sector in a sustainable way. Throughout our sourcing networks and processing facilities, we support women through literacy classes, health awareness programmes, and professional development initiatives, designed to build confidence, motivation, and financial autonomy. The partnership with ITC SheTrades will allow us to scale our existing efforts for a more equitable participation of women in the cashew value chain.”
Anna Summer, SheTrades West Africa Project Manager at the International Trade Centre added: “SheTrades West Africa strives to improve women farmers’ livelihoods in the cashew value chain by improving the support and services that they receive from communities, government, and the private sector. We are excited to have forged a partnership with ofi as an important partner on the ground to create impact at scale for cashew farming communities with our common commitment to ensure increased benefits for women in cashew in Côte d’Ivoire.”
ITC recognizes that ‘Partnerships4Purpose’ can contribute to impactful projects and sustainable outcomes. To celebrate the teamwork behind these efforts, ITC is proud to highlight game-changing initiatives that are made possible through strong and meaningful collaboration.