The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) LIFFT-Cashew project, implemented by Shelter for Life International (SFL), addresses multiple aspects of the Cashew Value Chain by upgrading existing linkages and building new ones to create a more integrated and durable regional network that will enhance cashew cultivation and the processing and selling of cashew products.. In order to make the value chain more attractive and competitive and to develop an inclusive economy in SeGaBi, the LIFFT-Cashew project focused on improving kernel quality through training and the application of good agricultural practices, organizing collective sales and increasing local processing.

It is in this dynamic that the project emphasizes its intervention on two essential approaches aimed at improving tree productivity and nut quality by strengthening the capacity of producers, determining quality specifications and do you see any mistake implementing corrective measures in the field and over the long term with the use of varieties with high production potential, rehabilitation and/or renewal of plantations.

Shelter For Life conducted a study in 2022 to analyze the quality of nuts produced in SeGaBi, an area where nut quality data is very little known or disparate. In this context, the quality data of cashew nuts to have competitive products on the international market is a decisive issue facing the cashew sector in the SeGaBi zone.

Quality determination is necessary because it constitutes a contractual obligation between cooperatives and processors. This is why the project has set up an operational mechanism necessary for its implementation and monitoring in the field, which aims to determine the quality specifications for each quantity of nuts sold from a given cooperative to a processing unit or a buyer. Specifically, it is a question of determining i) nut count; (ii) out turn or KOR; (iii) waste rates.

The study was carried out on a batch of 260 samples of 1 kg each collected in 90 localities in each of the three SeGaBi countries of the project intervention area and according to the geographic coverage of the cooperatives. On each sample, graining, defect rate, and KOR were calculated.

Cashew quality specification in SeGaBi

The results obtained give an overview of the quality of nuts marked by a spatial discrimination of the parameters studied. These results of the study showed that the highest KOR was recorded in Guinea-Bissau. It varies between 52-53 lbs with an average defect rate of 2.64% and a graining of 192 nuts/kg.

In The Gambia, the KOR ranges from 51 to 52 lbs with a default rate of 0.18% and a graining of 171 nuts/kg. The lowest quality of nuts compared to other countries was recorded in Senegal, where the KOR varies between 50-51 lbs with a defect rate of 1.1% and graining of 179 nuts/Kg. This data shows that the quality of nuts in each of the SeGaBi countries are above the WAEMU standards (> or = 50 lbs).

The quality of nuts at the level of SeGaBi is good and appreciated by all through the out-turn or KOR (Kernel Output Ratio), which is very decisive data in the international trade of the cashew sector. This performance is justified by the presence of large buyers in the area, causing a large export volume of 95% of the production volume.

However, efforts must be made in the harvesting, packaging, and storing of nuts, particularly in Guinea-Bissau, where the defect rate is relatively high, and in Senegal, where the quality is still low compared to other regions. Compliance with good practices is vital to significantly improve performance. Thus, popularizing these good agricultural practices through approaches such as the field schools of the LIFFT-Cashew project, and participatory training through Training of Trainers (ToT) make this technology accessible to all and serves to increase nut quality and revenues among the adoptive producers.

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