Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s number one cashew producer notwithstanding a drop in 2016 production due to poor weather. Now however, local cashew nut producers are unhappy over the government set producer price of USD0.71/kg as against the sought after USD0.96kg – leading to substantial smuggling across the border.
This is a long-term issue for the country. In 2016, an estimated 100,000 tons of cashew nut were smuggled to neighbouring countries including Ghana for example, where the the buying price was US$1.53/kg as opposed to US$0.56/kg in Cote d’Ivoire.
Refined products normally account for less than 10% of all Ivorian cashew exports. Government has realised the potential in this market and has implemented a range of bonus payments for those selling refined products. There are plans to scale up installed refining capacity from 90,000 tons to 214,500 tons by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, the discontent of cashew nut producers should be viewed as part of a larger problem of dissatisfaction among low-level agricultural producers and bottom of the pyramid Ivorians. Their situation is made more difficult by the volatility of external demand.
Written by Songhai Analyst Kobi Annan (Accra)
* Image source: Shijan Kaakkara
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