Cashew Kernel Price Today

Cashew Kernel Price Today, August 16, 2017

W240: 5.20-5.25; W320: 5.05-5.15;

W450/ SW320/ LBW: 4.9-4.95;

DW: 4.5-4.6; WS/WB: 4.35-4.6;

LP: 3.75-3.85 (SP: Limited)

(Unit: USD/ Lb FOB HCMC/ Flexi packs)

Note: The above selling prices for non-Chinese markets/ Prompt shipment.

Thứ Tư, 3 tháng 7, 2013

Cracking The Nut On Jobs: Q&A With A Togolese Social Entrepreneur

27th Jun, 2013

Cashew lovers, did you know that African farmers produce nearly half of the world’s supply? And, how about this? Until recently, a whopping 95 percent of Africa’s cashews were sent to Asia and Brazil for processing and export—leaving Africans out of the more lucrative, job-creating cashew-processing industry.

That’s changing, and Togolese social entrepreneur Francois Locoh-Donou is at the forefront of efforts to build the capacity for nut processing within West Africa— along with other key players like the African Cashew Alliance, Technoserve and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates began supporting the Africa cashew sector in 2009. Dana Boggess, Gates program officer, told me the effort emphasizes support to African processors because it believes that the local value addition benefits smallholder farmers. I couldn’t agree more.
Francois and his partner, Maurice Edorh, director of the Institute for Finance at the University of Lome, founded Cajou Espoir in 2004, Togo’s first cashew-processor that now employs 500 people, 80 percent of whom are women, and exports more than 400 tons of cashew kernels to European and U.S. buyers.
Cajou Espoir means “cashew hope” in French and that’s precisely what Francois and Maurice dreamed of bringing to rural Togo, where unemployment is endemic and the majority lives on less than $1 a day.
Root Capital has financed Cajou Espoir since 2010, and I find Francois to be the real deal when it comes to social entrepreneurs. He’s driven by impact. “We want to be a social company that’s tied into the community, where we’re giving back and can measure the development of the community that’s coming from our company,” he says.
For Forbes readers, here’s a Q&A with Francois I recently shared with investors and donors about why he started Cajou Espoir, the challenges he has faced, and his company’s impact on the lives of rural Tongolese.
Q: What inspired you to start Cajou Espoir?
A: I grew up in Togo and left when I was 15 to study in France. I started working in Research and Development in the field of optical telecommunications, and from the moment I started working, I wanted to do something in my country to create employment. The first opportunity I took was to create a chicken farm with Maurice who is my partner in the cashew factory. We started in 1998, but it wasn’t creating as many jobs as we had hoped. We were making $200 to $300 thousand in revenues but were only employing about 20 people and I was getting frustrated because the money we were spending was not going into food or calories for people but into food for chicken.
So we looked around to see what other venture we could do and started getting educated about the cashew business. An NGO called EnterpriseWorks Worldwide was encouraging people to get into nut processing in Benin. At the time I didn’t even know there were cashews in Togo. I asked them at what geographical latitude were the cashews in Benin. It was 300 to 400 kilometers from the coast. So I drew a map in Togo and that’s how we got to Tchamba and met with the mayor of the town.
When we told the mayor we had the potential to employ 30 to 40 people he said, “we were sent by God.” He made it very easy for us to buy the land and start the factory. Nine years later we are processing more than 2,000 tons of material and employing 500 people.
Q: What are Cajou Espoir’s greatest impacts on the community?
A: The first impact is that for a lot of the women in Tchamba, because there are no job opportunities, they would cross the border into Benin and into Nigeria to become maids, domestic workers. Some of those women would end up as prostitutes in Nigeria and come back with diseases and unwanted pregnancies and it tore at the family tissue. That’s not happening now. Women are staying locally and getting a job in their town.
The second impact is economic. Women would tell me they were making on average $20 a month in the best case. Some months they would make nothing. It was a complete struggle. Now they are making on average $70 to $80 a month. The best workers make up to $150 a month. They are able to live differently and send their children to school.
But the biggest impact you can sum up in one word and that is pride. At the individual level, for example, when there is a wedding, now the women are able to put on a nice dress and go to the wedding because they have a job. They hold their heads high. At the town level, there is huge pride that their Tchamba product that comes from an unknown town in an unknown country gets exported to the U.S. and competes with big countries like India, Brazil and Vietnam. And at the end of the day they feel they are as smart as anybody else.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you have faced getting Cajou Espoir operational?
A: Our first big challenge was access to capital. Raw nut purchases are about half of our revenues, and not everybody will lend you money when you’re a small business in a very small country, which doesn’t have a lot of democratic principles. And on top of that the agricultural sector doesn’t really have collateral against the loan. So access to capital was really a big issue, which is why for the first four to five years we didn’t borrow money. We just bootstrapped to be able to develop a track record so that we could ask for money.
The second challenge was mastering the complexity of processing nuts in a profitable way and at large scale. West Africa doesn’t have a manufacturing culture and there’s not a lot of manufacturing talent. If you want to build a factory capable of processing two to five thousand tons, it’s not like you have a pool of 100 factory managers from other commodities that you can bring in. Basically, you have to learn on the job and the learning curve is pretty steep. If you don’t have the right temperatures in your ovens, or your workers aren’t properly trained, you can lose money very quickly.
The third challenge is finding people. Our rate of growth is … limited by how fast can we recruit people. It sounds paradoxical when you’re in an area where basically nobody has a job, but to be successful in cashew processing you have to have a very stable work force. You need to train your workers for three months before they reach a level of productivity where you can actually make money. In a big city, the labor force is very transient. You find stability in the rural areas, but the problem is population density is very low and it’s difficult to get people to come even small distances.
People don’t want to work in a factory six miles away, because you need a bicycle. Most people don’t have that. And for a lot of women, their husbands won’t allow them to commute six miles to a foreign area and come back after sunset. So we had to set up a couple of satellite factories.
We have recruiting campaigns [for the main factory] within a 50-mile radius. We bring workers in and give them housing for the first few months and guarantee pay just so they can make the transition.
Q: What’s your vision for the future?
A: In the short term we have financing to build a second factory for 3,000 tons. We’ve chosen another town similar to Tchamba that is 100 kilometers away. That’s the next big step for us. We may also build another factory in Benin because they have a lot of raw material there. We’d like to be able to process 10 to 20 thousand tons in Togo and Benin in the next two years and employ three to four thousand people.
My personal goal is to create 10,000 jobs in Togo. I’m 500 into it and have 9,500 to go.

Source: AMI

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