TechnoServe: Cashing in on Cashews

by: Aneel Karnani

Publication Date: October 28, 2009
Length: 16 pages
Product ID#: 1-428-817

Core Disciplines: Base of the Pyramid, International Business, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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In the mid-1970s, Mozambique was the world’s leading cashew nut producer. But by the late 1990s, the post-independence civil war, a slowing economy, and poor policy decisions had destroyed the sector. Instead of a vibrant value-added domestic industry serving the growing global market, Mozambique’s raw cashew nuts were shipped to India for processing, effectively resulting in the export of a major agro- industrial opportunity. This case explores TechnoServe’s role in the revitalization of the Mozambican cashew industry.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Consider viewing the poor as producers and job creation as ways to achieve poverty reduction.
  • Assess the ways by which small and medium sized enterprises play a central role in the process of job creation for the poor.
  • Explain how poverty can be reduced by including a large number of ‘small holders' in the value chain.
  • Explain the ways in which private businesses are at the center of economic growth and job creation, emphasizing a market-oriented approach and accounting for the impact of multiple players including government and trade organizations.
  • Explain the ways in which NGOs fill a key role as facilitators of economic growth and job creation.
  • Evaluate ‘appropriate technology' as a balance between labor intensity vs. productivity.
  • Characterize the many advantages of SMEs, including the balance between labor intensity vs. capital intensity, flexibility, speed, and ‘localization'.
  • Explain the critical role that local entrepreneurs play in reducing poverty by emphasizing job creation, and pay particular attention to the ways local entrepreneurs enable a business to succeed in a competitive environment by emphasizing low cost and responsiveness to customer needs.