PRO-Cashew Training Increases Farmer Incomes
Sumaila Edibo is a cashew farmer living in Iyale, a settlement in the Kogi state in central Nigeria. Since Edibo’s two-ha cashew farm provides his family with their primary livelihood and source of income, he decided to partner with the USDA Food for Progress-funded West Africa PRO-Cashew Project in 2021 to learn how he could improve his business skills, agronomic practices and harvest and post-harvest handling to increase his farm’s productivity and revenue.
Edibo participated in all of the trainings organized by PRO-Cashew in Nigeria where he learned best practices for weeding, timely pest management and disease control and harvest and post-harvest handling. He also learned how to collect and analyze relevant market information from buyers like Sonata Agri International, a local agro-processor, to improve farm-level decision-making and take advantage of market opportunities.
After Edibo applied these improved practices on his orchard, the productivity of his farm significantly increased. Edibo recounted that in 2021, before his participation in the training program, his farm yield was approximately 960 kg per ha, for which he earned $960 (NGN 420,000). In 2022, however, his farm yield increased by about 25% to 1,200 kg per ha. As a result of his farm’s increased output and the better prices he began receiving for his products through his partnership with Sonata Agri International, Edibo recorded an annual income of $1,710 (NGN750,000)—a 79% increase over the previous year.
Edibo explained how the training program has benefitted farmers across Iyale, highlighting that the majority of local trainees have embarked on different projects throughout the community, such as building houses, launching new businesses, digging boreholes and installing grinding machines, with the additional revenue they acquired from the sale of cashew nuts. Edibo himself used his additional income to purchase a three-wheeled motorcycle with a trailer for hauling goods. This has enabled him to provide rural logistical services to farmers within and beyond his community, further increasing his earnings. Following the advice of a Sonata Agri International extension officer who provided training in partnership with PRO-Cashew in 2022, Edibo also saved $1,256 (NGN 550,000) of his cashew nut sales, which he used to sustain his family during the cashew off-season.
When asked about the impact of the training program on his livelihood, Edibo said, “Before participating in the project, transporting harvested goods from me and my friends’ farms was always a major challenge. We had to walk long distances, sometimes above three kilometers from our farms to our homes with heavy loads on our heads.”
Edibo plans to expand his farm to three hectares in 2023 using the new improved seedlings that the PRO-Cashew Project is distributing to farmers and nurseries. Next year, Edibo also hopes to help his wife start a small grocery business in the community.