BENIN – Social impact investor Oikocredit has provided a credit line of € 2.7 million (US$2.7m) to Africa Negoce Industries (ANI), a cashew trading and processing company in Benin.

ANI will use the facility to fund procurement, storage and processing of cashew nuts into white cashew kernels for export.

The credit line will also enable ANI to expand its sourcing network among smallholder farmers and to strengthen its relationships with international buyers.

This facility follows a €2 million loan provided by Oikocredit to ANI in 2021. ”We are excited to continue our support to Africa Negoce for the 2022 cashew season,” said Yves Komaclo, Oikocredit’s Investment Manager for West Africa.

“Our collaboration is helping sustain a growing market outlet for farmers based in the disadvantaged Central and Northern Benin communities.

“This new credit line will further strengthen Africa Negoce’s resilience and export capacity. We are delighted to be able to work on improving our social impact among Benin’s cashew producer communities,” he stated.

ANI has been active for nearly 10 years in cashew trading. For the last five years, the company has worked in cashew processing and export to international food markets.

Despite challenges such as those posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, ANI has maintained its position among Benin’s leading cashew traders and processors.

It works with more than 2500 farmers organised in federations of cooperatives and actively contributes to better livelihoods for these farmers and their households.

The organization has supported farmers and their communities with agricultural tools, pesticide protection equipment kits, school kits and the enrolment of farmers into the UTZ certification program.

It also supports local employment by offering 50 permanent and 460 seasonal jobs. The majority of its employees are women.

Africa produces about 45% or 1.2 million tonnes of global cashew nuts annually with Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Mozambique being the leading producing countries.

In Benin the sector stands out as one of the highest value-added flagship industries given its high potential to contribute to employment and income generation; contribution to food and nutritional security; and great export potential.

Cashew nut is the country’s second-largest agricultural export product after cotton, and accounts for 3% of the gross national product (GNP) and 25% of the income from agricultural exports.

Investing in local processing will boost the value chain which has been highly focused on exporting of raw cashews to international markets such as India, fetching low value.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE