The GIZ project Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew) is part of the GIZ program on the “Broad-scale Promotion of Agricultural Value Chains in Africa”. ComCashew (previously known as African Cashew Initiative (ACi)  is funded in its third phase by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Jointly with private and public actors, ComCashew constitutes a new era of multi-stakeholder partnership aiming to reduce poverty, and to improve nutrition among a growing number of smallholder farmer households by enhancing the competitiveness of the cashew sector in BeninBurkina FasoCôte d’IvoireGhana and Mozambique.

This is achieved through the adoption of a value chain approach to promote the actors along the cashew value chain, in areas ranging from re-search, grafting and propagation, to production, processing and marketing. Ultimately, new opportunities for employment along the value chain have been created, specifically in rural areas, thereby ensuring an increase in and diversification of income. Additionally, a higher rate of women joined the workforce particularly in the processing sector.

Since the project’s inception in 2009, 481,441 cashew farmers have completed training in Good Agricultural (GAP) and harvest and post-harvest practices – about 22 per cent of these are women (105,917). Applying GAP, harvest and post-harvest practices and better planting materials have resulted in higher yield of 75% average and improved quality.

Through training of trainers (Master Training Program), ComCashew developed local capacities of highly knowledgeable resource persons as trainers in cashew value chain including policy advice and facilitate regional exchange for learning and innovation: 180 master trainers from 12 countries have successfully graduated from the program.

Due to ComCashew activities, installed capacity rose from 8.800 MT in 2009 to 250.000 MT in 2016. Since inception of the project, 446.106 jobs have been created, about 75% in production and 25% in processing and trade. Especially those jobs in processing have benefited women, as they account for 80% of the working force. Alone in processing and production the additional income in 2016 amounted to 25,5 Million EUR.

ComCashew’s private and public partners have contributed with more than 70 Million USD (2009-2016) towards the achievements in the cashew sector.

For its concept and measurable successes, ComCashew was awarded the Innovation Award of the OECD / DAC "Taking Development Innovation to Scale" in 2016.