Something we at Cajuu pride ourselves on is our ability to recognise that we wouldn’t exist as a brand without the people behind it. More importantly, we wouldn’t have our deliciously large cashews without the farmers who farm them. We recently added a new feature to our packaging, a QR code, that when scanned will tell you more about the farmer responsible for growing, harvesting, and deshelling your cashew nuts. Similar to how in the UK, you might see which farm and farmer produced a certain cut of meat, we wanted to take this idea a step further and really get you to know the farmers we work with.
We wanted to explain a bit more why this new feature is necessary for us to implement, and why tracing each batch of cashews back to its farmer is important to our brand.
We have a number of farmers who we partner with that work in the Makonde Plateau in Southern Tanzania. Most have been with Cajuu’s family for a number of years, some more than a decade due to the trust our grandparents established and upheld through to today. We’ve not only built up trust with the farmers we work with, but also respect and appreciation for them and what they do, something we at Cajuu want to continue to recognise and share with all of our customers and supporters.
All of our farmers have their own farms within the plateau, where they not only grow cashews, but also grow other produce too such as mangos, chillies, bananas, and even raise and rear livestock too. This means they have multiple forms of income to provide for themselves and their families, but also their own working hours to better suit them and their families.
All of our farmers are native to Tanzania, some having moved around the country whilst others having grown up near to the farm, making it local to them. One of our farmers, Ole, actually grew up in Simanjiro in northern Tanzania, moving to the southern part of the country in 2015 in order to rear and farm his own produce, including cashews. As our family’s cashew needs grew, we’ve been able to extend and scale up farms to produce even more cashews to meet demand, meaning recruiting more and more farmers.
Working for Cajuu has given some of our farmers opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise had, due to a lack of pay or time. For Habiba, she was able to put all five of her children through education, her eldest son now being a musician, an occupation that wouldn’t usually be possible without the additional income. She’s happy they will be able to do jobs that will make them happy, instead of taking something purely because they need it to make ends meet.
Three of our farmers, Amine, Rajabu and Hassani, have been able to increase their networking and contacts through Cajuu, meaning they can grow multiple produce on their farms, not just cashews. They’ve found that due to the equipment we provide to ensure all of our famers’ safety when deshelling the cashews (due to the acid contained within the shell), it has improved their standard of living, meaning they can better care for themselves and their families.
Alongside personal achievements, working with Cajuu has also provided the means to expand the scale of the farms and provide more sources of income to nearby communities.
Mussa, one of our farmers with a farm in Mtopa, Tandahimba, has found that it's easier to employ more people due to the good conditions we provide, such as pay and safety equipment. There’s no worry of risking scars or serious injury from the cashew shell acid, so working on the cashew farms is a much more preferred job in comparison to others where safety and health and wellbeing aren’t considered as important. With more and more jobs through the cashew farms becoming available, it keeps the area and neighbourhood enriched, providing more opportunities and options for those who live there, to further grow and improve their lives.
By having the QR codes on our products to enable our customers to see who their farmers are, we further support our vision of true traceability, ensuring our farming partners’ hard work is recognised, and demonstrating we don’t profit off the backs of others. We value that everyone is equal and rewarded fairly, as we want our customers to know exactly what they are eating, from location, to seasoning, to exactly who picks the cashews.
Our farmers are an important part of what makes the brand the brand, and a huge part of our foundations. Without them, we wouldn’t have any cashews at all, so it’s important to us to highlight them and their work.