As part of USDA’s grant “Linking Infrastructure, Finance and Farms to Cashew (LIFFT Cashew),” awarded to Shelter For Life in 2017, Connexus will play 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.
In particular, Connexus will build the supply and demand for agricultural finance in all three countries. Connexus will also work with Shelter For Life to set up a Cashew Fund to support equity and other investments in cashew value chains as a way to stimulate long-term direct investments and value chain finance as needed to meet international quantity and quality expectations.
Collectively, 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. By strengthening the cashew value chain at crucial points, the project intends to see wider economic and social benefits for project communities, including the promotion of peace-building and reconciliation outcomes.