Creating a Buzz for Cashew Farmers
by: Zoe Maddison
With only two harvests a year, the off-season is a typically lean period for Ghanaian households who depend on cashew as their sole means of income.
Working on the ground with cashew farming communities throughout the country, Olam has been supporting those facing this daily reality through the ‘EPIC’ project - Enhancing Productivity and Inclusiveness in the Cashew Chain – in partnership with German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The project is helping 25,000 cashew farmers improve their productivity and livelihoods with GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) training, provision of seedlings, loans, and additional income-generating activities.
One such activity is beekeeping, which Olam has introduced to nearly 2,000 women[i] under two separate projects in Ghana’s Bono and Savanna regions. Our initiative in Wenchi was awarded “Best Company in Community Support Project” at the 2020 Sustainability & Social Investment Awards.
Commenting on the partnership, John C. Duti, Team Leader of GIZ’s Employment and Skills for Development in Africa (E4D) Programme in Ghana said: “This joint project with Olam Edible Nuts in Ghana has enabled 400 women to become apiculturists (beekeepers), producing honey and wax and earning decent incomes. Olam has demonstrated that they are not only interested in their core business but also in investing heavily to better the living conditions of farmers and their families. This commercial interest is a trade mark that distinguishes the company from others; and we are indeed happy to be in this partnership to contribute to a future worth living for these farmers and their families.”
The women have received beekeeping training, two hives each and harvesting and processing equipment. They will receive two additional hives each by the end of this year and further business oriented training. The hives, which are set up in the cashew orchards in return for the pollination services of the bees, achieved 80% colonisation in the first production year, yielding around 14,500 lbs of honey and 436kg of beeswax for the women to sell.
For participating farmer Adutwumwaa Comfort from the village of Asueyi, this means a 15% increase in her income over the year: “I will be able to harvest about 40 lbs of honey from my apiary next year. Olam has provided me an opportunity to earn additional income during the cashew lean season so I can support my children’s' education.”
The impact of these interventions on farmer livelihoods in each of these communities, is being tracked through the ‘Economic Opportunity’ and ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ metrics of AtSource – Olam’s sustainability insights platform.
[i] 400 women are engaged through our partnership with GIZ and 1,500 through Olam’s own project in Wenchi, Ghana.