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American Shipper

Côte d’Ivoire cashew industry nets World Bank loan

The $200 million loan will help the world’s top exporter of raw cashew nuts boost productivity and quality and directly benefit about 225,000 farmers.

   The World Bank last week approved a $200 million loan to help Côte d’Ivoire increase cashew productivity and quality and promote the cashew-processing industry in the country.
   The loan for the Cashew Value-Chain Competitiveness Project was issued by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a subsidiary of World Bank. It has a maturity of 30 years and a 2.5-year grace period.
   The West African country is the world’s top exporter and second-largest producer of raw cashew nuts, with a production of 711,000 tons in 2017, representing 23 percent of global production, the World Bank said.
   The value of Côte d’Ivoire’s cashew exports is estimated at $800 million, making cashews its third most important export commodity after cocoa and refined petroleum products. However, the cashew value chain in the country is stymied by several constraints, especially processing, the World Bank explained.
   About 225,000 cashew farmers will directly benefit from the project. Beneficiaries also include cashew enterprises ranging from small-scale processing units to larger industrial processing facilities with an annual capacity of 3,000 to 10,000 tons as well as small and medium enterprises involved in storing raw cashew nuts.
   “Cashew is one of the main sources of smallholders’ income and the centerpiece of the Côte d’Ivoire’s major farming systems, involving about 2 million people located mainly in the poorer northern part of the country where it has become the most important source of rural cash income,” said Pierre Laporte, World Bank country director for Côte d’Ivoire. “By developing the cashew value chains and strengthening its integration into global markets, the new project has big potentials to generate inclusive rural employment through farming and industrialization, thereby contributing to poverty reduction.”
    The World Bank said in February that Côte d’Ivoire continued to be one of the most “buoyant” economies in Africa in 2017 and added that the country’s GDP growth rate is forecast at 7 percent for 2018 and 2019. “This positive performance is due to the recovery in agriculture and shows Côte d’Ivoire’s resilience to domestic and foreign shocks,” the World Bank said.
   “Nonetheless, the Ivoirien economy remains vulnerable to external risks such as fluctuations in agricultural and extractive commodity prices, climate conditions, global and regional security risks, and tight regional and international financial markets,” the World Bank added.
   In addition, Côte d’Ivoire’s budget deficit and public debt have both grown, the World Bank said, noting how the budget deficit grew from 2.9 percent of GDP in 2015 to 4 percent of GDP in 2016 and 4.5 percent of GDP in 2017.

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