Cashew nuts from Benin, a small delight
Since April 2020, customers can find the result of our most recent chain project - cashew nuts from Benin - under private label Boni Selection on the shelves of Colruyt Lowest Prices, OKay and Spar Colruyt Group. For this nutritious treat, we collaborate with a cooperative society of 2,200 small cashew producers. Belgian development agency Enabel is our partner in the project.
Economic added value
"There are no less than 200,000 small cashew growers in Benin, but the crops are small and the growers have a hard time finding long-term partners", says Philippe Toussaint, Colruyt Group's sustainability expert. "Direct collaboration, a guaranteed purchase and seeking correct prices make a world of difference for the cooperative. Moreover, the first processing (removing the nuts from their shells) will be done in Benin, whereas it used to be done in Asia. We thus create an economic added value on the spot and we reduce the number of food kilometres."
Working on stability and confidence
"In 2019, we bought 3,750 tonnes of raw cashew nuts from the cooperative, and the first processed nuts were on the shelves as of April 2020 under our private label Boni," says Philippe Toussaint. "However, problems about trust, prices and capacity surfaced between the chain partners, and the cooperative sold its crop elsewhere. Result: today, our Boni product contains 10% of the chain project, the rest is coming from another Benin cooperative. We are doing everything we can to buy the entire crop of March 2021 from the cooperative. Together with the partners, we are working on a stable chain and a sustainable relationship based on mutual trust. In this way, the cooperative will be less tempted to sell the crop on the spot to buyers who do not always give the best price."
Collaboration with Enabel
Belgian development agency Enabel is our partner in this chain project. Enabel has many years' experience in supporting the cashew and pineapple sector in Benin. "Colruyt Group's chain project for Beninese cashew nuts is an example of 'triple win': added value for local farmers and entrepreneurs, for the Belgian company and for development cooperation in general", says Jean Van Wetter of Enabel. "This kind of collaboration fits in with the general view and mission of Enabel for inclusive and lasting development."
Support for Beninese youngsters
To buck up young cashew growers in Benin, our company fund Collibri Foundation also supports an education project of Eclosio over there. The PESoC project (Promotion de l’entrepreneuriat des Jeunes et Soutien à la Production du Cajou) runs from 2020 to 2022 included and provides coaching and support to 120 young people of the Lycée Technique Agricole in Natitingou. In time, we want to integrate their (future) production of cashew nuts with the chain project as well. Together, we thus contribute to a better society, step by step.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.