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Gender dynamics in cashew and shea value chains from Ghana and Burkina Faso

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This study is part of a public-private partnership project ‘Oilseeds specialties: opportunities for the Dutch business community in the vegetable oil industry’ from 2013 to 2015. Demand is rapidly increasing for shea butter in cosmetics and food, derived from the oil rich nuts of the shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) tree and for cashew nuts, seeds of the (Anacardium occidentale) tree, used mainly as a food snack. A literature review, and interviews with 249 farmers and harvesters, processors, retailers, exporters, 42 traditional leaders, exporters, government, research institutions, non-governmental and civil society organisations and 17 focus group discussions were held between July and November 2014. The main findings are that rights to cashew and shea trees and their products differ greatly between men and women. Whilst regulations governing access to land and trees in Burkina Faso and Ghana do not discriminate between men and women, customary law governs in practice and do differentiate. Shea is predominantly wild harvested and cashew is cultivated. Access to land for cultivation is difficult for women in both countries. Land and tree tenure problems include a lack of knowledge of formal laws, costs and difficulties to register land, and insecure customary tenure. Benefits from participating in the value chains of these products have increased in both countries for both men and women. How the income is distributed depends on whether the product comes from a cultivated tree and if it was a joint, household or individual activity. Both sexes use the incomes from selling raw and processed products to meet family needs, men tend to spend more on family education and assets, women more on food. Women in cashew processing groups earn substantially higher income. Although initiatives are ongoing in both countries, these have not had dramatic impacts in the study areas. The main factors of success in improving gender equity in shea and cashew chains are ensuring and securing access to land and trees for smallholders. This means overcoming the significant cultural and associated financial barriers for women to own land and trees, but also for smallholders to enlarge their land holdings, and supporting women to organise into groups and improve the quantity and quality of processing. Further recommendations include raising awareness among traditional leaders, village elders and male household heads of the potential of women in agriculture and benefits for households; support for collective action and pilot activities, and celebrating women’s - and men’s - successes to improve their participation in decision-making processes in the value chains affecting them. Key words: Gender, value chains, cashew, shea, West Africa, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Netherlands, trade
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Cashew Benin
Toward quality supply for the emerging local
processing industry
Dahomey Cashew District Unions of Cooperatives
Background
Important cash crop for smallholder
farmers (besides cotton) and source
Annual production > 100,000 tons of
cashew nuts; 95% is exported
Cashew farming concentrated in the
northern and central regions of Benin
Local processing capacity has been
reinforced (building new processing &
upgrading existing plants) during the
last years
Business relationship
Farm: District unions of
cashew farmers’
cooperatives
Firm: Local processing
plant “Dahomey
Cashew” (raw cashew
kernels for export)
Mostly informal supply arrangements
Competition between local processors and foreign
exporters
Challenge area 1: Product & Market
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Disagree Agree
Challenge area 1: Product & Market
Farmers Firm
Quality criteria are known by
farmers
Quality criteria are easy to comply
with
Prices offered by other buyers are
more interesting
Information on world market prices
is easy accessible and trustworthy
Convergent views
Divergent views
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Disagree Agree
Challenge area 3: Farmers'
Organization
Farmers Firm
Challenge areas 2 & 3: Firm & Farmer
Organisation
Farmers and firm agree that
there are opportunities for the
firm to provide embedded
services to farmers
Farmers are well organized to discuss
and organize supply
Leaders regularly consult members and
take in account members’ interests
FOs are willing to promote quality
standards and support traceability
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Disagree Agree
Challenge area 4: Farmers
Farmers Firm
Challenge area 4: Farmers
Farmers are able to supply the required
volumes when prices offered are
competitive
Farmers use appropriate production
technologies (volumes)
Farmers and collectors use appropriate
post-harvest technologies (quality)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Disagree Agree
Challenge area 5: AgriBusiness
System
Farmers Firm
Challenge area 5: Agribusiness System
Farmers have easy access to
(public) extension services
Farmers can easily supply
themselves with quality inputs
Farmers are satisfied with (public)
extension services
Farmers can easily supply
themselves with storage bags
Seasonal credits are vital for
regular and quantity supply by
farmers
Farmers Firm
Challenge area 6: Communication &
Planning
Farmers agree with the prices offered by
the firm
FO members agree on sales conditions as
decided by FO which takes appropriate
measures to respect ‘contract’
The mechanism for fixing prices is
satisfactory
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Disagree Agree
Challenge area 7: Delivery and
Performance
Farmers Firm
Challenge area 7: Delivery &
Performance
On-time payment to farmers by firm
Side selling by farmers
Side selling is a necessity for
farmers
Conclusions (1)
Prices
Firm and farmers agree that other buyers often offer higher prices;
hence ‘side selling’ by farmers
Farmers are not satisfied with the price setting mechanism and feel
that they aren’t well informed about market prices
Quality
Firm thinks that farmers know about quality criteria but don’t apply
good agricultural practices
Farmers think the opposite
Joint opportunities for the way forward
Share information on fluctuation of market prices
Negotiate with MFIs seasonal credits for FO (buying from members)
Develop premium mechanism for rewarding quality, volume & on-
time supply
Conclusions (2)
Agribusiness system
Farmers have access to public extension but firm and farmers
agree that this isn’t providing relevant & quality services
Organisation of farmers as suppliers
Farmers and firm agree that information flows within FOs and
decision-making involves members
Firm thinks that the FOs are able to improve organisation of
supply
Opportunities for the way forward
Develop extension services (firm, third party or FOs) with focus
on inputs and practices that determine ‘quality’
Support FO for developing economic services for members
FDOV/PPP Cracking the Nut
http://www.rvo.nl/subsidies-regelingen/projecten/cracking-nut
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