Tolaro Global: Unshelling Cashew Potentials One Nut At A Time

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The Tolaro Story

The African cashew alliance 2018 report shows that Africa produced 1.8 million MT of raw cashew nuts and contributes up to 45% of global production. Currently, Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania are the top producers in the continent while Benin cashew nut is the most preferred in West Africa by importers in India and Vietnam.

With approximately 3 million smallholder cashew farmers across the continent, not much is known about the nut production, the producers and transparency as to what happens in the African industry remains a mystery to most consumers of the nut across the world.

Investments in technological developments to improve food systems in west Africa, remains at an all-time low. The cashew sector in Africa is largely underdeveloped and about 80% of cashew nuts are still exported in its raw form to India and Vietnam for processing.

This is why the work that Tolaro Global is doing is very commendable.

Tolaro is not just one of the largest processors of cashew nuts in West Africa, they are empowering people, spurring development in communities and creating lasting impact.

Their Impact In the Community

Since 2012 Tolaro has been committed to their farmer outreach program which has grown over the years helping them increase their yields and the quality of their produce. Through their outreach programs, farmers are taught safe and efficient farming practices that help individual farmers increase their yield (at least four times more than their previous yield). They have also provided the resources (farm equipment) needed to achieve this.

This has also led many to increase the size of their orchard to at least twice its former size on the average. And of course, people love good things thus, many farmers have joined their ranks. Today, their farmer network has over 7000 members.

Furthermore, their impact can be seen in how they have cultivated great relationships between themselves and the communities that they work with. This they have done by continuously being in constant communication with the various community leaders and villagers themselves.

In addition, they have also been heavily involved in community development projects. This is to ensure that the general quality of life of the communities that they have a presence in are greatly improved. To achieve this, they have been involved in providing healthcare, water and education.

Their Impact In Women Development

Tolaro Global has made great impacts as it concerns women development. This can be seen in the fact that:

·         Majority of their staff are women.

·         These women are not only employed, but are trained to handle modern challenges that come with the industry.

·         Women also make up a significant number of the farming population in the communities that they have a presence in who have been able to increase their farms and their yields through the guidance of Tolaro Global

·         Many women have also been trained and empowered to become entrepreneurs through Tolaro Global.

Cashew Positioning In The Global Market

As consumers become more aware of the importance of food, the need to eat more healthy, clean and organic has become a trend. The Global cashew industry is projected to reach 6.2 million metric tons by 2030. It is increasingly consumed and perceived as a healthier option than other nuts.

Tolaro is not just investing in the infrastructure needed to process raw nuts to the kernel, its vision is long term. It is focused on processing cashew into other finished products.

Despite the shortfalls exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020, Tolaro took giant strides, installing fully automated cashew butter and cashew flour lines.

One of the shortfalls in the food export business in Africa is that producers are unable to certify the quality of their produce and food safety measures. Therefore, it’s a free market in most African countries where international buyers dictate the prices of commodities they import. In 2019, Tolaro received its organic and fair-trade certifications and this is revolutionary in the sense that it can compete with other processors from developed countries in the international market rather than sell uncertified nuts.

Tolaro Global is leveraging on the high demand for cashew nuts to stake a claim for the common farmer. This they do by ensuring that:

1.       Their cashew nuts are ethically sourced.

2.       Alternative supply chains are created.

3.       Their workers and farmers are educated, not just on the necessary skills to increase their bargaining power, but on their rights as well.

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Cashew nuts are in high demand globally and this demand is constantly increasing as it can be used for flour, cheese, milk and butter. Thus, for anyone with the capital, the market for cashews will definitely be very lucrative if ventured into.

Though smallholder farmers are the backbone of cashew production in West Africa, the success of Tolaro is a glimpse of how the development of the infractures and investments in Agriculture can create employment to a largely unemployed society, improve the livelihoods of farming communities and its industrialization can serve as a means of revenue for the governments.

Every indication so far shows that the Tolaro Global has a model worth adopting and replicating across the various agricultural spheres in Africa.

Maybe, by doing this, Africa as a continent will be able to fulfil its agricultural potential.

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