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Liberalisation, Gender and Livelihoods: The Mozambique Cashew Nut Case

Report for Workshops held Xai-Xai, Gaza Province, 10 May 2004 Nampula, Nampula Province, 14 May 2004. Presentations covered production - the study’s results show that women have considerable access to and control over the cashew trees; the gender division of labour is less rigid in the area of cashew; cashew is extremely important locally as a means of livelihood; treating the small producers’ cashew trees chemically contributed little to increasing production; the small producers have not bought the improved varieties of cashew tree on any scale; and women tend to be excluded from interventions in the sector. - and processing: national processing capacity is low, and the factories face many financial and organisational problems; the former factory workers, and women in particular, had difficulty in finding other sources of income; the new factories pay low salaries and offer poor working conditions, and women work long hours and tend to earn less than the men; the trade unions are either non-existent or weak, and women are poorly represented in them; there are some new factories that are offering better working conditions; and in the south informal processing is growing. Marketing. Referring to the study, the price paid to farmers for cashew is extremely variable, and is influenced by a number of factors including the time and place of the sale, the quality of the cashew, the number of intermediaries and the international price. Both production levels and quantities exported have been rising, but the returns for the national economy and the producers have not; men dominate the marketing activities that require larger initial capital and bring higher profits; in the south the local and regional markets are developing and women are active participants; the fully liberalised markets tend to benefit those who have more resources.

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