Benin Cashew Day: History, Achievements, Focus

From a small agricultural sector, with an insignificant contribution to economic growth and the wellbeing of people, the cashew sector has developed into a huge industry in cashew producing countries in Africa, contributing significantly to household income and economic growth in these countries.
With an estimated annual production of 2.1 million metric tons of raw cashew nuts (RCNs) in 2020 from a little above 900,000 tons ten years prior, Africa is today the leading cashew producer in the world, producing about 57% of the world’s RCNs.
The industry, therefore, serves as an important source of income to about 1.8 million families in West Africa, creating jobs for many across the value chain.
The growth in the cashew sector is also evident in the increased investment by the private sector, and the significant progress in policy regulation through the establishment of various cashew regulatory structures in many countries in the continent.

To sustain the growth of the African cashew industry and consolidate the gains that have been made over the past decade, platforms that facilitate stakeholder discussions and strategic partnerships among key actors of the sector, development partners and governments are not only important but necessary. The African Cashew Alliance (ACA)’s annual Cashew Conference, for the past 16 years, has been the continent’s biggest platform for this, bringing together cashew stakeholders across the globe.
In the past few years, however, the ACA has partnered with several national cashew actors’ associations (inter professions) to organize annual events for cashew stakeholders to meet and engage at the national and subregional levels.
The Benin Cashew Day (BCD) is one of such important national events. This article provides a brief history of the BCD, its achievements over the years and more information about the 2022 edition.

Brief history and achievements of BCD

Like many other cashew producing countries in Africa, Benin saw a consistent significant increase in cashew nuts production between 2010 and 2019, becoming one of the highest producers of RCNs in the continent with annual production estimated between 110,000 and 140,000 tons while export could rise up to 250,000 tons.  This has made cashew a major economic commodity in the West African country. Following this growth, the need for stakeholder engagement towards building a sustainable sector became apparent, especially to the National Council of Cashew Exporters of Benin (CoNEC) whose Executive Council, in 2019, first conceived the idea of organizing a national forum for discussing cashew related issues.
In a joint response to questions on the event, the Presidents of the IFA and the CoNEC, Fanou Peniel and Hermann Abihona respectively, explained that the BCD was designed to be “a day of reflection on the marketing of cashew in Benin with the various links of the sector in Benin”. At the second biannual meeting of the Interprofession of Cashew Sector of Benin (IFA-Benin), the mother association of cashew actors, in December 2019, the idea, they explained, was validated, and adopted.

On Friday 24th January 2020, the first edition of the BCD was held in Cotonou on the theme, "Improving the marketing system of raw cashew in Benin: current situation, challenges and prospects’’.
The one-day event attracted a total of 206 participants with delegations from Cote d’ Ivoire and Nigeria. Industry stakeholders again gathered in 2021 for the second edition of the BCD around the theme, "Acting for a competitive cashew industry". This time, the event attracted participants and delegations from major cashew producing and processing countries like Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Vietnam.    

Over the past two editions, the Benin Cashew Day has succeeded in bringing together cashew stakeholders, actors, and development partners to discuss major industry issues, especially on matters relating to marketing systems of RCNs and increasing the competitiveness of the industry in Africa. It has also become a platform where various support models of the sector are studied and analysed with the aim of building a more vibrant sector in Benin.
The event, according to CoNEC and IFA  has helped improve the system of group sales and strengthened business linkages among various cashew associations.  The event has also established “a system of identification of the stakeholders within the interprofession” and “a system of accreditation of testing and monitoring of quality control of raw nuts for export” in Benin.

From the private sector perspective, the President of the ACA, Babatola Faseru, believes the Benin Cashew Day event is playing a key role in efforts to build a sustainable cashew sector in Benin by promoting stakeholder engagement and collaboration.

“Benin is one of the top producers of cashew in Africa and has shown even greater potentials to grow. Like many other cashew producing countries, several factors are impeding the growth we want to see. One of such challenges is the lack of proper supply chain linkages we see in many countries. We need to properly link producers, processors and traders so that collectively the industry can become sustainable. This requires proper engagement and for me, that is what Benin Cashew Day presents,” he said in an interview.

He added that the ACA, as part of its commitment to building a sustainable and competitive cashew industry in Africa, will partner with various cashew sector associations at national levels to organize several of such cashew days in other cashew producing countries.

“The Cashew Day has come to stay, and the ACA is proud to be partnering with IFA and CoNEC. It is important to mention that discussions are already in place with actor associations of other cashew producing countries to organize similar events in those countries. From 2023, February will be dedicated to Cashew Day events across the continent where stakeholders and actors will be sensitised on industry issues. This is necessary for our quest to build a viable cashew industry in the continent,” he added.

2022 edition

This year’s Benin Cashew Day, the third edition, will be held from 22nd to 24th February 2022 at the Palais des Congrès in Cotonou, Benin, with the virtual transmission which participants can join. The three-day event will be on the theme, “Building strategic partnership for an efficient cashew sector in Africa”.
The event will present several workshops, panel discussions and presentations from seasoned ACA cashew experts and supply chain analysts, including Ingredient Sourcing Solution’s Jim Fitzpatrick, experts from the Consultative International Cashew Council (CICC), Cashew nuts Board of Tanzania, Fonds Nationale de Development Agro-Sylvo-Pastoral (FNDASP), Centre d’Innovation et de Technologies de l’Anacarde (CITA), among others.  


With a goal of capitalising on the results and experiences of cashew sectors in various countries in Africa and beyond towards creating sustainable strategic partnerships for an efficient cashew industry in Africa, discussions and presentations at this year’s BCD will focus on cashew research, development, and adoption of digital technologies in the sector, improving cashew processing environment, developing improved marketing systems, institutional partnerships, and financing.  These are key areas of importance to the cashew industry in Benin and the entire continent, which needs stakeholder discussions around.  

The ACA will be making a presentation on cashew processing and food safety at the conference. Issues of food safety have come under serious discussion in recent years as Africa looks to increase its local processing capacity. Giving highlights of what should be expected in this presentation, Mr Faseru, said proper standardisations and certification are important ingredients of building a viable cashew industry driven by local processing and will feature in the presentation.

“ACA’s presentation on processing will focus more on food safety, especially on standardisation and certification. We will highlight the experiences and progress that has been made in that area, the current situation and identify how processors in Africa can improve on food safety,” he said.

The ACA Seal, a food safety certification program, has received recognition and acceptance from many international organisations and is helping improve food safety in Africa, particularly in Cote d’Ivoire. The presentation, he indicated, will also highlight procedures and requirements for acquiring the Seal and how it is improving food safety in Africa.       

The event will also facilitate business to business engagements while allowing participants to build strong networks and partnerships. It will also present the opportunity for businesses within the sector to exhibit. Generally, the main expected outcome of the 2022 edition of the BCD is “the development of strategic partnership opportunities on which countries can work to boost the African cashew industry”.


This year’s Benin Cashew Day event is a hybrid of physical and virtual participation. This according to organisers is to provide the opportunity for people who may not want to travel for several reasons, including the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, to participate from the comfort of their homes and offices.

Interested Participants may therefore visit the event’s website ( to register either as physical or virtual participants of this all-important event that promises to be educative and create opportunities for partnership. Businesses and Individuals may also visit  to register for exhibition booths.  Regarding travel arrangements, potential participants may visit to find out countries that are exempted from visa to enter Benin without reciprocity requirement while those that require visa may visit  for online visa services.