Guinea-Bissau’s cashew farmers survive robust instances


Cashew nuts are Guinea-Bissau’s largest export crop however instances are robust for farmers, as photojournalist Ricci Shryock reviews.

Alciony Fernandez is from a household of cashew growers and has carried their newest batch to be weighed and offered at a store 30 minutes away, within the outskirts of the capital Bissau.

The nuts will fetch a value of 350 CFA francs per kilo ($0.65; £0.45), the 14-year-old says.

Authorities-set costs for the crop have been slashed by near a 3rd since final 12 months, after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the provision chain.

For the reason that begin of the 12 months, cashew farmers in Guinea-Bissau had additionally been grappling with a tax for the primary time – at 15 CFA francs per kilo.

Exporters and merchants mentioned they have been struggling to purchase cashews due to the additional cost.

However some reprieve got here on the finish of final month, when the federal government eliminated the farmers’ tax – and lowered two different taxes on intermediaries and exporters.

The nation often exports round 200,000 tonnes every year, however this dropped to 160,000 final 12 months. And there are but extra worries as the principle purchaser, India, is grappling with the Covid-19 disaster, says Mamadou Yerro Djamanca of the Cashew Exporters Affiliation of Guinea-Bissau.

A lot of the crop has been sitting in rural areas ready to be purchased and transported, he explains.

As soon as the rains begin, which is often by late Might to mid-June, it turns into extraordinarily troublesome to move the crop alongside the nation’s slim filth roads as they usually flood or simply flip into mud.

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Neia Nianta has a 1.5 hectare cashew farm simply exterior Bissau which she harvests every year from March to June. She spends the times working from mid-afternoon till late within the night.

Cashew wine – made by squeezing the juice from cashew apples then fermenting it – is well-liked inside Guinea-Bissau.

Right here Neia units to work alongside Quinta Cabi. They are saying they will make round 5,000 CFA francs a day from promoting the regionally made brew.

“Final 12 months was higher – we offered extra wine and we offered it at the next value,” she says, including this was because of the coronavirus lockdown.

“The work to press the cashews may be very tiring. First we go to the timber, search for the cashews, carry them again, separate the nuts from the fruit – then you definitely begin pounding the fruit.

“Typically we pound to fill 4 or 5 buckets. That makes 25 litres of wine.”

Kumus da Silva prefers to stay to the non-alcoholic model.

“This work is to make cashew juice – as a result of proper now there are a number of cashews, so we’re not utilizing all of them,” he says.

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Employees at his small workshop sift out the juice, then put it into stamped bottles earlier than warming them in metallic barrels to stop fermentation.

The shells must be eliminated to make the juice, as Mr Da Silva demonstrates.

The primary 12 months he made cashew juice he didn’t make a revenue. However now, when his firm sells it to native eating places, it makes 500 CFA francs per bottle.

“We have to do advertising, as a result of individuals do not search for it to purchase but. The problem is to make individuals wish to drink it – as a result of there may be not a number of demand,” Mr Da Silva says.

Whereas cashew merchandise stay well-liked as ever domestically, Guinea-Bissau’s export challenges over the approaching weeks shall be essential for the fortunes of farmers’ and distributors alike.

All pictures topic to copyright.

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