In 2018, the cashew farmers of Bamboi organized to process cashew apples and learn the various products and profits they could gain from cashew apples. The cashew nut is not the only high-value product produced by cashew trees. Each cashew kernel is attached to a cashew apple, which has the potential to be processed into juice, marmalade, jam, or alcohol. Countries like Brazil have built entire industries using cashew apple products. But the widely accepted procedure for processing the cashew apple in Ghana (and the rest of West Africa) is to pick the nut and throw the apple away or use as occasional animal feed. We’re hoping that our programs will change these practices. One of the first pieces of equipment we acquired for this project was a juice press, which allowed our farmers to process a larger volume of cashew apples. This new equipment represents an opportunity for us to take this program to the next level and create goods that can be taken to market, thereby reducing post-harvest loss and generating supplemental income. You can add to this grant, and make our projects bigger and better here!
Next Steps for the Cashew Apple Processing Project
We are also awaiting news on some large grants to match project funds and scale the project to size with a safe and efficient still. The still is currently being designed with a Ghanaian fabricator to ensure the proper gauges are in place for a safe distillate, and discussions are underway to improve the fuel-efficiency and distribution of heat throughout the cooking process. The cashew farmers also plan to pay the women additional day labor fees for the duties of processing cashew apples, which occur at the same time many of them would already be harvesting apples.
Once the cashew farmers are able to produce a safe and tasty distillate they will begin to experiment with barreling and aging the alcohol for a premium product for bottling and sale. We will be providing guidance on best practices for producing alcoholic products. Our goals in partnership are to create local jobs and opportunities from cashew apples that would otherwise be agricultural post-harvest loss, and to create a more independent and dependable economy for cashew farmers.
BamCashea, as an organization has also been making some groundwork; we recently gained a new board member – Elisabeth Perez –adding another amazing woman to our efforts. Elisabeth has extensive experience working in nonprofit management and community engagement working with vulnerable populations in the United States, and her professional experience in strategic planning, training, and education are proving to be instrumental to our success.
We’re still busy at work on the shea processing mill and hope to complete hookups to the local power grid this week (fun fact – Ghana is more than 95% hydro-powered. We’re excited to continue to support the Norntoma Cooperative’s efforts to process shea while also encouraging shea tree reforestation. You can check out their products in the snapshots below, and learn more about our Shea program. This program is made possible by your support and the hardworking women in Bamboi.
How You Can Help
In light of recent, and historical events in the United States, BamCashea is making an effort to connect these budding industries in Ghana with the African American and Black communities in the United States, as potential business partners and networks, to increase cultural exchange and empower both communities to fight the institutional racism that persists globally. We are making the effort to reach out to individuals and organizations in the Portland area, but please contact us if you are interested at email@example.com. Now more than ever sub-saharan countries in West Africa need investments in sustainable local economies, as the lingering effects of this pandemic will be far worse for those who were already living well below an American standard of poverty.
You can make a difference by making a donation today. Your donation will contribute directly to our projects.
You can also check out our available opportunities to work with us. Thank you for checking in, and we hope everyone is safe and well during these extraordinarily stressful times.