An Australian Alumni from the Mozambique National Cashew Institute (INCAJU) Ms Lúcia António is helping Mozambique increase its share of the global cashew market.
Ms António, an agronomist with the Institute, undertook an Australia Awards Masters degree in Global Food and Agricultural Business to strengthen her industry analysis, project management and proposal development skills.
Cashews are important to the Mozambican Government, with more than 40 per cent of Mozambican farmers - over one million households - growing and selling them. The cashew processing sector employs more than 8,000 individuals and represents 70 per cent of farmers’ revenue.
Mozambique is committed to increasing the market output of cashews by 29 per cent and domestic processing by 50 per cent by 2020.
Cashews are attached to a fruit known as a cashew apple, which is edible and reputed to have health benefits such as helping to prevent heart disease, reducing the risk of diabetes and boosting bone and oral health. The current cashew value chain focuses on the nut and excludes use of the cashew apple, which is wasted.
In October 2017, Ms António trained smallholder cashew farmers in marketing strategies, packaging techniques and food safety requirements to improve their income stream opportunities. Cashew farmers who participated in the training have now added cashew apple jam and juice to their produce ranges and are sharing these techniques in their communities. This has gradually introduced a positive change in the lives of smallholder cashew farmers.
Ms António has succeeded in improving training opportunities for women and encouraging entrepreneurship, further boosting the local economy through the expansion of cashew orchards, access to markets and processing plants.