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Dynamic agroforestry increases yields and secures farmers' incomes

Coop Switzerland relies on sustainable cashews and mangoes from Burkina Faso

Coop Switzerland has set itself the goal of supporting the sustainable cultivation and processing of cashews and mangos in Burkina Faso together with HALBA and gebana. Thanks to dynamic agroforestry, yields are increased in the long term and the income of farming families is diversified, they report.

Demand for cashews has risen sharply in recent years. Currently, one third of all organic and Fairtrade-certified cashews at our HALBA production facility come from gebana. To ensure that this figure increases in the future, we are supporting gebana in expanding the sustainable cashew value chain in Burkina Faso. Because the challenges on the ground are great: increasing desertification, soil erosion, but also low incomes and low value creation throughout the country.

Red cashew apples / Image: Coop / Gebana

Lighthouse project secures the future of local farming families
The project, supported by HALBA, gebana and the Coop Fund for Sustainability, teaches mango and cashew producers in Bobo Dioulasso the basics of dynamic agroforestry. Its advantages are obvious:

The cultivation method improves soil quality and leads to less erosion, higher fertility, stable yields and good quality.

The targeted mixed cultivation of cashews and mango in combination with local tree species and shrubs counteracts desertification in the Sahel, the transition zone between the Sahara desert in the north and the wet savannah in the south.

At the same time, improved soil quality enables the cultivation of beans or cereals, diversifying farmers' incomes and contributing to food security. Farming families benefit from organic and Fairtrade premiums that ensure a stable income.

Local people are trained to become local agroforestry trainers who pass on their knowledge to other producers. The use of dynamic agroforestry in the Sahel is unique worldwide and an absolute lighthouse project.

New factory creates value locally
At the same time, gebana is planning a new factory on site to create additional value and employment in Burkina Faso. The factory will have an exemplary "energy and waste management" system. For example, cashew shells will be used to generate the heat needed for mango and cashew processing. This will create 1,000 new jobs as well as new sales opportunities for thousands of farm families.

The dried mangoes and cashews are available from Coop as organic and Fairtrade-certified products. The goal: in the future, half of all organic and Fairtrade-certified cashews should come from Burkina Faso and the value creation in the country of origin should be sustainably promoted.

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