Mozambique is a breathtakingly beautiful country on the Southeastern coast of Africa. The coast is lined with tranquil beaches and the capital city of Maputo is a hectic, developing urban jungle. From North to South, you will find bright colors of “capulana” fabric, noisy “chapas” hailing customers needing public transportation, and of course, cashews.
Though Mozambique’s urban areas are ever-growing, over 75% of the country remains in extremely rural settings. The soil is conducive to significant agricultural productivity but years of drought, floods, insecurity and corruption have forced most farmers to continue to produce on only a subsistence level. While Mozambique used to be the world’s top exporter of cashews, the industry crumbled when the country fell into a civil war lasting two decades after gaining independence from Portugal in 1975. Many other industries in the country followed suit, forcing able citizens to emigrate to neighboring countries to look for jobs. Even to this day, it is common to find families where the father lives in another country with a separate family, and only comes home to visit once a year. This phenomenon has severely damaged the family structure in Mozambique, causing young people in entire villages to grow up without a strong male influence.
However, despite these conditions, cashew farming is one of the most common and reliable agricultural activities for farmers who remain in the village because the Mozambican climate is ideal for the tree’s fruit. For over one million rural farmers, the growth of the cashew industry in Mozambique is crucial to their economic well being. The past few years have shown increased demand for the product, giving rise to a revival of abandoned factories and a many more trees being planted.
Once the 3rd poorest nation in the world, Mozambique has recently made strides of economic improvement, but increasing levels of debt continue to hinder significant growth. It has one of the highest birth rates in the world, yet it also maintains a similarly high mortality rate. Over 45% of the population is under the age of 15, and some sources estimate that 10% of Mozambique’s population is orphaned.
It was in these conditions that Sunshine Nut Company planted roots in Mozambique. We celebrate the beauty and small joys of this nation daily, while ensuring every aspect of our business and philanthropic work targets and strengthens the needs of the country we now call home.