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Growing cashew enterprises

Earning an income from cashew trees, vegetable farming and honey production. Support our work growing resilience in Ghana

The project

This project in Northern Ghana ran from April 2019 to March 2022. During this time, we worked with farmers, supporting them to earn an income from cashew trees. They learnt about how to process tree products and market them to increase their income.

We also supported these groups to develop vegetable and honey enterprises, so that they can diversify their income sources, providing them with stabilityand resilience for the future.

Why was this project needed?

To thrive on the frontlines of the climate crisis, communities need to be resilient. In Northern Ghana, over half of the population live in poverty and rely on farmland for food and income. 57% of the world's cashews are grown in Africa, but the climate crisis is making it more difficult to make a sustainable income. 

From seedling to harvest, this project ensures communities have the tools and training they need to grow drought-hardy trees and build resilient businesses which are equipped to tackle the significant challenges of a changing climate.


Our aims

The project aimed to train 3,000 smallholders farmers in Ghana's West Gonja Savannah region. We set out to partner with communities to grow and care for cashew trees, implementing sustainable, climate-smart agricultural practices, like composting & agroforestry. The project also aimed to provide community growing spaces, creating opportunities for women and youth groups to learn more about farming.

This was paired with our enterprise development approach. The project supported training for entrepreneurs to develop their business skills so that they can run sustainable businesses from the products they grow. We supported these groups to process cashews and cashew apples, which were previously thrown away as a by-product. Cashew apples are now being processed into products like cashew apple jam, and developing business training to ensure they receive a fair price at market. This cashew apple VTE established by the project is the first of its kind in the cashew producing belt of Ghana. 

  • 0

    people supported

  • 0

    tree nurseries established

  • 0

    enterprise groups involved in training

Our impact:

Nursery cultivation - key results:

  • From August 2021 - March 2022, staff produced 74,040 cashew seedlings from three nurseries. These were supplied to 1,874 farmers, with a survival rate of around 75%.
  • 45 nursery workers received training in grafting, and training to cultivate vegetables in the nurseries, which were eaten or sold.

Growing quality cashew enterprises - key results:

  • 120 cashew VTEs were trained in orchard management practices (eg pruning, integrated pest management, composting). 70% of participants reported that they have adopted practices on their own land.
  • 150 VTE members received training on cashew apple processing and marketing.
    • 60 members from cashew apple groups also took part in trade fairs
  • +182% increase in the average sales generated by Cashew VTE group +149% average increase in their average annual profits.
    • Overall, the proportion of household income sourced from Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) increased from 8% to 46% for participants.
  • 74% of participants rated the quality of their harvested cashews as either ‘Very High’ or ‘High’ quality. Farmers receive better prices when selling high quality produce at market.

Building collaborative businesses - key results:

  • The project established 30 new VTE groups, which were supported to develop legume, cashew apple and hone businesses. All groups received technical and business training, as well as essential equipment.
    • Average sales for non-cashew VTE groups were $752 with an average profit of $415 (April 2022).
    • For honey enterprise groups, a total of 320 beehives (200 more than our target) were distributed along with beekeeping equipment.
  • Gender equality: Awareness-raising sessions took place in 25 villages, raising awareness of the benefits of involving women and youth in enterprise development.
  • Tree Aid worked with CECOTAPS to support 30 VTE groups to secure formal land access so their businesses can grow long after the project ends.
  • Our surveys showed that income was spent on essentials such as education, health services, and food. However, the most common use of income was to reinvest back into the VTE business, showing the groups' commitment to developing their enterprises.

Developing a Market Information System (MIS)

This was developed to keep VTE members up to date with current prices and market conditions has also been launched and is now being managed by the cooperative union with support from Tree Aid.

The system contains farmer’s information, and buyers can also use the system to order produce. We are now training staff and Cooperative Union members on how to manage and maintain the system in the long term. 

Our partners

This project has been made possible thanks to funding from UK Aid Direct.