The drop in the price of the cashew nut prices in Guinea-Bissau has left nearly half of the population hungry, with families skipping meals or selling livestock to survive until the next harvest in September, reports All Africa.
The price has dropped to its lowest yet–the average price per kg of cashews is 112 CFA francs (two US cents), a decrease from an average of 300 CFA last year. Plummeting international prices, reduced demand from Guinea-Bissau’s main cashew importer (India), the April 2012 coup, disagreements between the government and traders on benchmark price as well as banks’ decision to reduce loans to traders have all resulted in the 63 percent drop.
Cashew nut prices also fell last year.”In July 2012 the country exported 60,000 tons of cashew nuts compared to more than 100,000 tons by the same time in 2011,” reports All Africa.
Cashew nut production is a major industry for the country, with 80 percent of Guinea-Bissau’s 1.6 million people are involved. Farmers generally sell their produce to purchase food, or they trade cashew nuts for food.
The lack of demand is hitting the country hard. In fact, some 38 percent of this year’s harvest has not been sold because of the poor prices. “Cashews account for 90 percent of Guinea-Bissau’s exports and 45 percent of its GDP,” reports All Africa.