As part of the Linking Infrastructure, Finance and Farms to Cashew (LIFFT Cashew) project, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service (USDA FAS) and led by Shelter For Life, Connexus plays a leading role in facilitating access to agricultural finance, investment, and marketing as needed to strengthen the cashew-growing regions of Senegal, The Gambia, and Guinea Bissau. The six-year project aims to increase the volume and profitability of cashew processors, improve bargaining power of smallholder cashew producers, create jobs, especially for women and youth, facilitate outside investment, and strengthen the regional competitiveness of the cashew value chain.
In May 2018, Connexus’ President, Anita Campion, and Project Associate, Liuben Chipev, adapted the two-day training, “Developing and Financing Agricultural Value Chains” to the needs of the LIFFT-Cashew project, including integration of recent market information related to the cashew value chains in The Gambia (in English) and Senegal (in French). The Connexus team first conducted the training in Banjul, Gambia, and then again the following week in Ziguinchor, Senegal.
50 representatives from several financial institutions attended the successful training, helping them to understand many of the constraints in the cashew value chain, useful tools for how to finance agricultural value chains, and how their collaboration with the LIFFT project could help unlock new market opportunities for value chain actors in West Africa. While in each country, the international team took the opportunity to visit local cashew processors to gain a better understanding of the business model and related costs, to integrate into case studies in preparation for future trainings.