Cashew nuts are not only a delicacy but can also be used in many different ways. Vegans (especially in Europe/USA) appreciate these great nuts with a wide range of uses just as much as the local
population here. However, if you don't own any cashew nut trees, you have a bad hand, because for the local population the purchase of ready cashew nuts is simply too expensive. Cashew nuts also
here on the Kenyan coast cost between 15-20€/kg, which is far too expensive compared to the typical average income of Kenyans of around 100 - 200€/month. The availability of cashew nuts is
seasonal and the production of the ready-to-eat nuts is very costly and, without clear knowledge about the processing, also dangerous to health, because the raw nut (in the shell) gives off a
corrosive acid when it is broken open, which damages the skin. However, with proper processing and appropriate precautions, the production of ready-to-eat cashew nuts can generate a nice
contribution to the local household income.
Firstly, the buyer/customer should be available before production begins, as the nuts cannot be stored in their raw state for so long. Secondly, the buyer/customer should be willing to pay a price slightly above the normal "market level for bulk buyers", because otherwise the whole workload is hardly worthwhile even by local standards. Once again, the problem lies in the global trade, which pushes prices down (as for local coffee, for example), as the large Asian producers have modern production facilities that allow them to produce cashew nuts at a much lower price than traditional African handicraft.
We promote the cultivation and production of cashew nuts by trying to put local farmers in contact with buyers on the one hand and guaranteeing them a certain minimum price on the other. This project is still in its famous "children's shoes" but is already showing the first small successes. Our main effort should go in the direction of "expanding the buyer market", which is quite time-consuming and requires some negotiating skills. Local, larger customers, such as typically the Indians, are proving to be "hard as nails" in their purchasing negotiations. Social ethics, ecological aspects or even promoting local employees is usually completely unknown to them. The only thing that counts is the price. Exporting to Europe is too expensive, not least because of the export barriers imposed by the government ...
Nevertheless, we are committed to local production and thus to supporting women (many times single mothers) in the families who carry out this work for us. We appreciate your support so much and please remember:
Every purchase supports your local area and with this you support a healthy planet and finally yourself !