Benin Bans Raw Cashew Nut Exports from 2024 in an Attempt to Boost Local Processing

Cashew Nut Kernel
Raw Cashew Nut
Published Jun 4, 2022
In an ambitious move to boost cashew processing in Benin, the government has banned raw cashew nut exports from April 1st, 2024. The development of the domestic cashew industry could see Benin’s Glo-Djigbé Industrial Zone house several cashew processing plants, with a combined capacity of 110,000 mt. India is currently the largest destination for Beninese raw cashews, but should Benin process all cashews domestically by 2024, it could lead to major changes in its trade flow.

Benin is typically the world’s eighth-largest cashew-producing country and production in 2022 is estimated at around 160,000 mt. In terms of value, cashew nuts are Benin’s second most important agricultural export, after cotton, and raked in more than USD 48 million in 2021. Like many of the world’s largest cashew-producing countries, especially those located in Africa, virtually all cashews are exported as raw cashew nuts (RCN), to either Vietnam or India, to be processed, and then shipped further to end consumers. Many African countries have earmarked the development of their domestic cashew processing industries to boost local economies and add employment. However, in most of these countries, the development of the cashew processing industries has made very little progress. In a bold move, the Beninese government announced a ban on RCN exports, effective from April 1st, 2024, to ensure domestic processing capacity is developed.

According to Tridge’s representative in western Africa, Mevis Aiyeju, in its present state, it will be challenging for the cashew industry to implement the ban while at the same time allowing the sector to economically benefit from it. There is a need for systems to be in place that will rapidly increase processing capacity within Benin and incentives for investments into the processing segment of the value chain. With only 2 years to go, the government will need to spearhead this initiative by creating an enabling environment through the establishment of the required infrastructure, tax breaks, and other elements relevant to the successful implementation of the ban to create the desired outcome.

Glo-Djigbé Industrial Zone to Become Cashew Processing Hub

The export ban was published in decree 2022-214 which set the conditions for the 2021/22 cashew marketing year and Article 5 stated “As of April 1, 2024, the export of raw cashew nuts will be prohibited in the Republic of Benin.” The decree did not elaborate on the ban, but according to Commodoafrica, the Beninese government has designated the Glo-Djigbé Industrial Zone, outside of Cotonou as Benin's cashew processing hub. The industrial zone will become the site for several cashew processing plants, with a combined processing capacity of 110,000mt. India-based, Nand Kishore and Sons, is in the process of opening one such plant, with an annual capacity of 30,000 mt and it is expected to be operational from August this year. Local-based enterprise, Tolaro Global, has also invested in a processing facility, which aims to process 10,000 mt annually, by 2023.

Less than 2 Years to Reach Ambitious Goals

Despite several investments in the cashew processing industry, Benin will have only two years to achieve what many other countries have been struggling to do for decades. Currently, Benin’s local cashew processing industry is practically non-existent. In 2021, Benin exported only 818 tons of shelled cashews, and more than half of it was shipped to Vietnam. This is compared to the 57,743 mt of in-shell cashews exported in 2021. Should Benin indeed be able to process all cashews locally by 2024, it could cause major changes in the destination countries of these cashews. According to the Africa Cashew Alliance, Benin’s cashews are favored by India, due to their quality and taste, and in 2021, 76% of Benin’s RCN exports were destined for India. India is a major consumer of cashews, but also a large processor and exporter of cashew kernels. As a result, India would much rather import RCN than cashews kernels, to keep its processing plants up and running. Likewise, major cashew kernel importers, like Europe and the US, will welcome more cashew kernel suppliers in the global arena and will be keen to source directly from Benin.

By clicking “Accept Cookies,” I agree to provide cookies for statistical and personalized preference purposes. To learn more about our cookies, please read our Privacy Policy.