CÔTE D’IVOIRE – Ivory Coast’s forecast for the 2023 cashew output has been revised up by 22% to a record 1.25 million tonnes, boosted by good weather and smuggling from other countries, Ecofin Agency citing Reuters has reported. 

Adama Coulibaly, the director general of the Cotton and Cashew Council (CCA) revealed the forecast, stating that the anticipated harvest surpasses the production forecast formulated at the start of the current marketing campaign which began last February.

The country had initially forecast output of about 1.05 million tonnes for 2023, up from last year’s 1.028 million tonnes.

 “About 1.15 million tons of cashew nuts have already been purchased from farmers. To date, however, we estimate that the latter still have a total stock of 100,000 tonnes at their disposal,” said Mr. Coulibaly.

Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s top cashew producer, with an annual production of about 1 million tonnes. The crop is the second agricultural export product after cocoa.

To explain the upward revision, Coulibaly highlighted that apart from the good weather, sellers from neighboring countries such as Guinea, Mali, and Ghana this year have been smuggling their cashews into Ivory Coast as its market is considered more lucrative.

Additionally, he revealed that officials are trying to increase the volume of cashews processed locally adding that by June, local processors have received 249,000 tonnes of cashews out of a goal of 300,000 tonnes for the 2023 season.

He said 593,000 tonnes have already been exported to Vietnam and India, compared with 455,315 tonnes in the same period last year.

Ivory Coast’s cashew value chain was hit by a price slump after global demand for the nuts, eaten as snacks or used for cooking and desserts, tumbled after the coronavirus pandemic.

As a consequence, the sector plunged into an unprecedented crisis despite government subsidies and export incentives to local processors to remain competitive.

However, recently, the state announced the completion of an agro-industrial zone dedicated to the processing of cashew nuts in the town of Korhogo as the country bets on boosting the processing capacity.

Implemented by the CCA with the financial support of US$12.5 million from the World Bank, the agro-industrial zone is envisioned to house, in particular, 7 processing units, storage warehouses, a drying space, a cashew shell recovery center, and a processing station as well as wastewater treatment.

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