The Clipper talked to Amos Bucher, Founder of Cashew for You, about sustainable farming with nuts and snacks.
The Clipper: How did you become a cashew trader?
Amos Bucher: We started in 2014. In 2015, we traveled to Nigeria for the first time and built cashew production from scratch. In 2015 we sent a test delivery of 200 kg and it arrived very well. Since then we are growing. And we are working to include more and more nuts in the field of organic / fair trade sector.
The Clipper: Did you have experience with the trade of nuts?
Amos Bucher: My father is a carpenter, I have studied engineering and worked as a mechanical engineer until 2017. When I did my bachelor’s degree in the company, I met Oke, who is from Nigeria. I always had the desire to create a company in the field of sustainability. We talked about cashews and decided to fly to Nigeria and have a look. We received a very warm welcome and together we founded the company in Nigeria. The German trading company is based in Konstanz – in my apartment. Production, shop and shipping is based in Freiburg.
The Clipper: Are the cashew nuts certified organic?
Amos Bucher: No. In Nigeria, the cashew tree belongs to the natural vegetation. There are no plantations there, but the harvest is collected wild. It is therefore difficult to certify the nuts, because the nuts come from very different trees and places. The nuts are 100% organic, because they are not treated with pesticides, they come from a wild plantings. More organic is not possible, but it is impossible for us to certify the product.
The Clipper: How does the export to Europe work?
Amos Bucher: We set up a business locally so that we could even export to the EU. We then asked in the village who would like to participate. 28 of our 30 employees are women. The employees process the nuts in the traditional way. Then the nuts are brought to the harbor. From there they are transported to Hamburg. Then we import the goods ourselves – everything from one source. This enables us to pay two to three times the usual local wages.
The Clipper: How successful are you with this concept?
Amos Bucher: We quickly realized that with these quantities we are not in the position to pay usual wages in Germany because we are small and do not really produce well. That’s why we’ve taken care to include cashew nuts from other producers. In Ivory Coast we got in touch with the farmers’ association, which is already certified to Fairtrade and organic. These cashews we have in the program, market them and refine them – baked, salted, with rosemary, garlic or pepper. So we expand our product range and there we can also achieve some margin. For this we have a small manufactory in Freiburg – an industrial kitchen, where we also roast and salt peanuts and Brazil nuts.