Guinea BissauWest Africa

Cash Crop’ Cashew Nuts Is Guinea Bissau’s Cash Crop

Story Highlights

  • Cashew As The Major Source Of Income In Bissau
  • Harvesting Cashew Nuts

Guinea Bissau is the world’s fourth largest exporter of cashew nuts which makes the fruit Guinea Bissau’s Cash Crop. The Fruit earns the country more than $60m (£38m) a year. The sector employs more than 80% of the country’s 1.6 million people, and plantations cover nearly half the country. It is one of the poorest nations in the world and is ranked 176 out of 187 countries in last year’s Human Development Index.

Cash Crop' Cashew Nuts Is Guinea Bissau's Cash Crop

The cashew sector has enormous social, ecological and economic potential for Guinea-Bissau. Since its introduction  to the international market cashew has become the  largest agricultural export product & Cash Crop for Guinea-Bissau.

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Guinea Bissau’s Cash Crop: Cashew As The Major Source Of Income

Cash Crop' Cashew Nuts Is Guinea Bissau's Cash Crop

Cashew is Guinea Bissau’s Cash Crop and a major source of income for thousands of small-holder farmers and supports farmers’ livelihoods especially during the lean season. One factor which may be contributing to the high yields in Guinea-Bissau is the source and quality of planting materials.

The cashew Cash Crop forms the core of Guinea Bissau’s economy. Data from household survey shows that cashew accounts for 26% of income (net of remittances) for female headed households and for 35% for male headed households. As such, cashew is the most important source of monetary income, and this is especially true for poor households.

Cash Crop' Cashew Nuts Is Guinea Bissau's Cash Crop

Although other Cash Crop are grown to an extent, they tend not to be exported. Rice is another important
commodity in Guinea-Bissau, it produces 40,000 tonnes a year, but it has to import a further 80,000 tonnes to meet domestic demand and is frequently hit by food insecurity.

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Although Guinea-Bissau produces rice, it needs to import to meet demand. The benefit of cashews as a cash crop drew many farmers to convert their fields into cashew orchards, and they now depend on the markets for food.

Cashew is traded for rice, with considerable reliance on a barter system. The cashew Cash Crop is thus at the core of both economic performance and poverty reduction. This note lays out some of the ways in which cashew matters for the
Bissau-Guinean economy.

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Harvesting Cashew Nut

Cash Crop' Cashew Nuts Is Guinea Bissau's Cash Crop

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Harvesting cashew is the most dominant economic activity among Bissau-Guinean households. A limited amount
of the harvested cashew is processed, mostly for domestic consumption: the cashew apple is turned into wine and the cashew nut is roasted and de-shelled. Yet the vast majority of cashew production is geared to the export of raw cashew kernel.



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