Ivory Coast’s cashew producers called today for a fixed price that would allow them to make money this year, after a “disastrous” last season for the world’s biggest producer of the tasty nuts.
In 2016 the country produced 725,000 tonnes at the start of the harvest season, marred by clashes between farmers which left 33 people dead.
Ivory Coast beat India last year while global production is 2.9 million tonnes, according to figures from the Cotton-Cashew Council, which manages the sector.
Over the same period the price paid to producers was 350 CFA francs (0.53 euro) per kilo, seen as low compared to neighbouring countries.
This year they want a “sale price which makes money,” industry officials said days before the start of this year’s harvest in mid-February.
“We have to fix good prices. Something which would have to be bought for 600 CFA francs (0.9 euros), if it is sold for half the price it upsets the sector,” said Mamoudou Meite of the international cashew federation Filcajou, which represents over half of the producers.
He told AFP that a price “which makes money” in the deprived north of the country could help “to fight poverty, illegal migration to Europe and jihadism” in the region on the border with Mali and Burkina Faso, which both had attacks last year.
The last harvest was “disastrous” for the industry, Meite said, noting that prices were twice as high in neighbouring Ghana.
In April 2016 clashes between farmers in the northeastern region of Bouna descended into inter-communal violence which left 33 people dead, 52 injured and 2,640 forced from their homes.
The industry employs some 250,000 people in about 20 cooperatives directly, while some 1.5 million jobs are dependent on it including indirectly.
Cashew nuts are exported to India, Vietnam and Brazil which transform them into everything from food, cosmetics and aircraft brake fluid. The biggest consumer countries are India, the United States, the European Union, China, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.