For World Food Day we’re sharing the story of a fresh start for the tasty Mozambique cashew.
After a troubled history, there’s renewed promise for Mozambican cashew farmers.
For much of the 1900s Mozambique was famous worldwide for the taste and quality of the cashew nuts it produced. Then in the 1970s, civil war changed that and for years Mozambican cashew production and processing declined. Now that is changing, and a new website shows how.
Mozambique still has ideal growing conditions for cashew. It remains one of the best cash crop options for the country’s farm conditions. Over 40 percent of Mozambique’s farmers rely on cashew, and 95 percent of them are smallholder farmers. In some areas, cashews contribute roughly two-thirds of total household cash income.
Still, cashew farmers’ situation could be much better. MozaCaju is a three-year project, implemented jointly by TechnoServe and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), which will help nearly 30,000 smallholder cashew farmers and processors increase their productivity. The project aims to reduce poverty in Mozambique by connecting smallholder farmers to markets so they can get better prices for their harvests.
The $9 million program, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and over $3.8 million from the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A., will teach farmers new methods that improve their growing practices and post-harvest techniques. In the first year Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is providing cashew farmers with seedlings and training them in grafting techniques that offer higher yields. It will also train processors in practices that will expand the cashew trade, including certification, quality standards, market linkages and improved access to financing.
TechnoServe and AKF recently launched a beautiful new website: www.mozacaju.com. There you can track the renewal of cashew production in Mozambique and its rich history. You can also learn about the lives of cashew-producing families. The section “From Tree to Trade” follows the fascinating path of a cashew from the soil to your plate.
The website also highlights the project’s efforts to address the demand for organics with greater traceability and certification within the Mozambican cashew industry. As consumers in the U.S. and elsewhere call for more food options that provide fair payment to growers, farmers in Mozambique enjoy more opportunities.
Improved capacity and financial services will help prepare Mozambique to enter international markets on a stronger footing and improve the outlook for its farmers. Bookmark the MozaCaju site and check back to see how the picture is changing.