Pre harvest visit in Benin

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The harvest season starts soon and raw cashew nuts are already falling from the trees.

This year, we expect a really good harvest. There was enough rain in summer-autumn and the harmattan (dry northeast wind) came at the right time and with the right intensity for an optimum harvest.

The raw cashew nut

The nut grows together with an apple and falls from the trees when its perfectly ripe.

Cashew Früchte

After falling, all apples are manually collected and all cashew are separated from the apple by hand.

The cashews nuts are then gently dried and stored in 80kg bags waiting the full process of the nut extraction. The apple is usually used to make juice or fermented to produce the cashew apple.

Talking about prices

2016 was a very challenging year, where prices went crazily up due to a really high demand. From one year to another the farmers increased their income by more than 30%. This was due to high local demand and international prices going up. The farmers expect the same to happen this year.

Nowadays, as the harvest is good, prices tend to be on a lower side and most of the farmers try to keep their nuts as long as they can hoping for higher prices.

Gebana Benin has long term partnership with the farmer cooperatives and guarantee a higher price than the market. In addition to the normal price, the farmer will benefit from an organic premium and the cooperative from a fair trade premium. The organic premium is individual and the fair trade have to benefit to the full group.

The goal of my visit was to visit cooperatives on a pre harvest time as well as assisting on the preparation for the upcoming external organic and fair trade audits.