Trade Hub: A new cashew processing facility is building up local workers and farmers

Cécile has been working her whole life. She never finished high school, dropping out to help her mother. When her mother died, she worked to take care of her siblings and then her own child. But she says she never wants to stand still. She got a job with EcoCajou and now she helps supervise other women in their factory.

Cashew nuts are one of Côte d’Ivoire’s largest exports, but less than 5% of them are processed. Instead, the raw cashew kernels are often sent to Asia for processing. But EcoCajou leveraged a $800,00 co-investment from USAID’s West Africa Trade & Investment Hub to build a 15,000 metric ton-per-year processing plant that allows them to revitalize the cashew industry in the country while improving employment for women and economic outcomes for cashew farmers. EcoCajou’s new facility has created 480 new jobs and will directly benefit 5,390 cashew producers who rely on the nut as their primary cash crop.

As it prepares to increase exports to international markets, EcoCajou is also able to support 4,085 producers in complying with organic certification requirements and developing cashews on their plantations, contributing to a sustainable and resilient agricultural landscape in West Africa.

Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) is a five-year (2019–2024) program that improves private sector productivity and competitiveness through market-based approaches.

The program partners with U.S. and West African private sector firms to generate new private sector investment in key industries as a way to create jobs and increase trade within and between West African countries, and with the United States through greater utilization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

It is an integral part of and contributor to the U.S. Government’s Prosper Africa initiative, which is supported by USAID Missions across West Africa.


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