As part of USDA’s grant Linking Infrastructure, Finance and Farms to Cashew (LIFFT Cashew) awarded to Shelter for Life in 2017, Connexus played a leading role in facilitating access to agricultural finance, investment, and marketing to strengthen the cashew growing regions of Senegal, The Gambia, and Guinea Bissau. Connexus supported supply and demand for agricultural finance in all three countries. Connexus identified partner financial institutions and provided technical assistance and training, starting with its well-known agricultural value chain finance and risk management training.
Connexus also worked with Shelter for Life to design a Cashew Fund to support equity and other investments in cashew value chains to stimulate long-term direct investments and value chain finance as needed to meet international quantity and quality expectations. The project aimed 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.