Eight West African cashew producer organisations met in Burkina Faso to discuss their challenges and experiences within the Fairtrade market.
The nuts and oilseeds standards, under which cashew nuts fall, are relatively new within the Fairtrade product range and most of the producers are still adapting to the particularities of the Fairtrade market.
A much-discussed topic during the meeting was the producer-trader relationship. 'Some traders are not respecting contracts,' says Issaka Sommande of Association TON in Burkina Faso. 'They send their agents directly to individual members, offering them higher prices and thus undermining the cooperatives.'
The participants agreed better access to up-to-date market information would strengthen their position. The small-scale farmers also believe that instead of exporting their harvest they would benefit from processing cashew nuts within their own organisations, but more capacity building will be needed to make this dream a reality.