Concerns Over Cashew Smuggling

COTE D’IVOIRE - Cashew growers and exporters in Cote d’Ivoire are concerned by the smuggling of the nuts to neighbouring countries. Indeed, the actors fear that the phenomenon might be fueled by a growing demand for the crop this season.

According to their estimates, about 100,000 metric tons of cashew could be smuggled to neighbouring countries, mainly Ghana, before the end of the ongoing season.

Many of the sector’s actors attribute the thriving of the practice to high export taxes and transport costs. Interviewed by Reuters, an exporter said Ghana imposes no export tax on cashew, unlike Cote d’Ivoire which fixed a tax of CFA85 for a kilogram. He added that transit cost in Cote d’Ivoire is also higher than in Ghana.

Moreover a kilogram of cashew is sold at a higher price in Ghana. Reuters indicates that in the Eastern part of Cote d’Ivoire, some farmers get between CFA900 and CFA1,000 per kilogram of cashew sold to Ghanaian buyers while the same volume is sold at CFA440 to Ivoirians.

“The government must do something. Rapidly. All quality nuts are sent to neighboring countries. This endangers the sector,” said another exporter who for his part highlighted that so far, 40,000 tons of cashew have been illegally exported outside the country.

The persisting smuggling impairs the nation's export forecast for the year, estimated at 715,000 metric tons.

To exactly evaluate the losses that the phenomenon incurred Cote d’Ivoire, it should be noted that Ghana generated in 2016 $244.5 million from its cashew exports which stood at 163,000 tons that year. This is despite the local output of the nation which was about 70,000 tons only last year, far behind Cote d’Ivoire’s 650,000 tons.

Source: Ecofin Agency