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Developing Guinea Bissau’s Cashew Subsector: Establishing Links and Nurturing Partnerships  

Guinea-Bissau is the world’s fifth largest cashew producer and West Africa’s largest producer of raw cashew nuts.  Virtually 100% of the population is involved in one form or another with cashew production, harvest, trade, export, transformation, or other types of support. While cashews are Guinea-Bissau’s leading export and largest foreign exchange earner, historically the cashew industry had been overwhelmingly oriented towards producing and exporting low-value raw nuts primarily to Indian processors. 
 
Over a five-year period beginning in 2001 and ending in June of 2006, and working in a politically volatile and challenging environment, EWV built a sustainable cashew processing industry. By linking farmers, processors, equipment producers, material suppliers, government representatives, buyers, brokers and NGOs, and by training private sector service providers such as processing and hygiene instructors and kernel classifiers and packagers, EWV succeeded in jump-starting an entire industry, and creating improved opportunities for diversifying the types of interventions that relate to Guinea-Bissau’s most significant economic subsector. 
 
EWV made a substantial contribution to improved cashew nut processing, increased domestic earnings, expanded employment opportunities and reduced the nation’s economic risk by offering expanded opportunities for investors and farmers working in the cashew and associated subsectors.  Gross revenues earned from cashew exports in 2005, the last full year of project implementation, surpassed $ 715,000.