The Master Training Program is currently in its fourth phase and since the beginning in 2014, the training program has produced about 180 cashew experts from over 15 African countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. It provides a platform for discussion of best practices and lessons learnt and enhances the building of national and regional networks for future collaboration among participants.
“Investing in the cashew business is a necessity, but knowledge to run your business is vital. Master trainers have, since the inception of this programme, become the compass that will take cashew business to a globally competitive level.”
— Ernest Mintah, Managing Director- African Cashew Alliance (ACA)
ComCashew believes that knowledge sharing and capacity strengthening culminate in instigating the required change for the growth and profitability of the African cashew sector.
“I used the cashew value chain approach learnt at MTP to train pineapple processors in the pineapple value chain in the southern part of Benin. In all, I have run training sessions for more than 100 women in five cooperatives. I want to start a training session in Senegal on other value chain products for women, but would want to team up with other master trainers from that country.”
— Constance, Master Trainer from MTP Edition 2
About the Master Training Program
The program was introduced by the Competitive Cashew initiative to strengthen the capacity of actors and enhance their knowledge of the cashew value chain. It aims to increase theoretical knowledge and practical skills of African cashew experts along the value chain and further promote the competitiveness of African cashew.
Beneficiaries of the program include all actors in the cashew value chain ranging from smallholder farmers, agricultural extension officers through to processors and policymakers. Participants benefit from both theoretical and practical training sessions on various technical subjects on cashew.
So far, the program has been held in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Participants learn about all aspects of the cashew value chain from production and processing of raw cashew nuts, to economics, cashew market dynamics, marketing and financing mechanisms.
Three consecutive sessions
Rolled out over a seven month period, the training program is divided into three successive sessions usually held in three different destinations.
- The first session usually tackles the basic knowledge an entrant into the sector should have about the cash crop. This includes market analysis, introduction to the cashew expert database, sources of reliable information on the sector and an overview of the cashew sector in various producing countries.
- The second session tackles the development of improved planting materials, establishing new plantations, good agricultural practices, and cashew pests and diseases.
- In the third session, master trainees delve deeper into harvest and post-harvest practices, processing and financial proposal writing amongst others. The Cashew Master Training Program also trains participants on training plan development, the design of adult training programmes and a wide range of behaviour change topics such as self-reflection and perception management.
During the period between the various sessions, referred to as inter-sessions, the participants return to their host institutions to conduct fieldwork, either individually or in groups, to deepen their knowledge on a selected topic. After completion of the program, the participants are awarded certificates as acknowledged cashew experts.
Suiting the needs
Designers of the Master Training Program, facilitators and technical experts teach, evaluate and tailor each training session to suit participants’ needs. The program also benefits from the commitment and support of ComCashew partners in the development of training contents. Resource persons use stimulating presentations, interactive role-plays and lively discussions to deliver trainings.
“The Master Training Program has a unique style with different expert presentations and ideas. I observed that others have also benefited from my participation in this training because now there is higher demand for my services by my colleagues and others from different institutions.”
— Nikiema Séni, Master Trainer, MTP Edition 2