Organic cashews from Benin

40% of all cashews worldwide come from West Africa, but the majority of them are exported to Asia for processing. The locals thus miss out on value creation, and the transport route the nuts take is unnecessarily long and difficult to trace. We want to change this through processing at source and through Bio Suisse and Fairtrade certification of smallholder farmers in Benin.

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Organic cashews from Benin

40% of all cashews worldwide come from West Africa, but the majority of them are exported to Asia for processing. The locals thus miss out on value creation, and the transport route the nuts take is unnecessarily long and difficult to trace. We want to change this through processing at source and through Bio Suisse and Fairtrade certification of smallholder farmers in Benin.

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Our 320 or so smallholder farmers from the region of Kouandé in Benin are already Fairtrade-certified. Obtaining the Bio Suisse "bud" label is their next step. Provided these producers achieve certification, it will be possible to start exporting Bio Suisse cashews from Benin this spring. We will be raffling of 1,000 samples to people who are interested in testing the cashews and giving our farmers feedback.

What can I do?

The organic and fairtrade cashew nuts from Benin are now available at Coop!

Nearly 100% of the organic and / or Fairtrade certified nuts available from Coop are produced and processed in West Africa, but not all cashew nuts can be covered by the cashew project in Benin. Depending on availability, Cashews available at Coop come from other West African countries.
Order 2577

Impressions from Kouandé

Cashews grow on fruit called cashew apples.

Cashews grow on fruit called cashew apples.

Thanks to Bio Suisse certification, our farmers command higher prices for their raw cashews.

Thanks to Bio Suisse certification, our farmers command higher prices for their raw cashews.

The cashew groves are tended without the use of any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

The cashew groves are tended without the use of any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

After harvest, the raw cashews are sewn up in jute sacks and transported for processing.

After harvest, the raw cashews are sewn up in jute sacks and transported for processing.

The raw cashews are processed by hand. This creates jobs and enhances value creation at source.

The raw cashews are processed by hand. This creates jobs and enhances value creation at source.

The project’s benefits

Owing to a lack of infrastructure, expertise and funding, smallholder farmers in Benin are unable to process or certify their cashews, meaning that opportunities to supplement their income stay largely untapped. This project will help to establish a direct, sustainable value chain and generate added value in the following areas:
  • Environmental added value through Bio Suisse certification, a reduction in long transport routes, and training in sustainable agriculture for farmers
  • Social added value through Fairtrade Max Havelaar certification of the supply chain and local job creation
  • Financial added value at local level through higher value creation at source, guaranteed minimum prices, greater purchase quantities, and an increase in crop yields as a result of training in good agricultural practice
  • Both retailers and consumers know the product's origin and how it is produced.

How can I get involved?

Read our regular project updates to learn how a cashew makes its way to a supermarket shelf from the tree on which it grew, and how much manual work goes into every single nut. Keep track to find out whether the farmers of Kouandé achieve Bio Suisse certification. If they do, you can become a cashew tester. Enter the prize draw and win one of 1,000 free samples and test the first-ever Fairtrade-certified cashews with the Bio Suisse “bud” to come from Benin. You can sign up by clicking on "Keep track and test the produce".

Kouandé, Benin

Who is behind the project?

Sunray: A Coop Cooperative production company that processes and sells raw materials such as sugar, edible oils, nuts and dried fruit. As an organic and Fairtrade pioneer in this field, Sunray has been tasked with launching Bio Suisse cashews.

gebana: gebana AG is Switzerland’s Fairtrade pioneer. With extensive experience in establishing value chains in the South, the company is developing the cashew project in Benin together with local partners.

Coop Sustainability Fund: The Coop Cooperative promotes sustainable consumption through the Coop Sustainability Fund, investing over CHF 16.5 million each year in awareness-raising activities, social projects and the development of sustainable value chains. This also includes financial support for setting up the cashew project in Benin.

IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative: IDH is an internationally active and widely networked foundation headquartered in the Netherlands. IDH's mission is to develop and test innovative and economic business models for sustainable value chains in public-private partnerships. IDH is supported by various European governments (including SECO) and is assisting in this project with technical knowledge and experience in the sustainable integration of smallholder farmers in global value chains as well as with co-financing contributions. In the cashew sector, IDH is supporting companies by developing and implementing a traceability concept and is thus contributing to secure income and better quality of life for the farmers.