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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guinea-Bissau is a Major Cashew Nut Producer

Guinea-Bissau is the world's fifth-largest cashew exporter behind India, Vietnam, Ivory Coast and Brazil and a major exporter of illegally logged African Rosewood. Average daily consumption of the Guinea-Bissau people is .85 cents, which means the average amount of money people live on in Guinea-Bissau, is .85 cents per day. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on no more than $1.25 per day. It is not surprising to see a potentially profitable illegal logging of African Rosewood emerge in a society with such high levels of poverty.

The Republic of Guinea-Bissau exports cashew nuts, shrimp, peanuts, palm kernels, sawn timber particularly illegal logging of African Rosewood. Guinea-Bissau is one of the world's biggest producers of cashew nuts however; profitable illegal logging of African Rosewood caused a decrease in the price of cashews, which is Guinea-Bissau’s main export.

Cashew Nut Tree by JoostBeljon
The country's vital cashew nut crop provides a meek living for most of Guinea-Bissau's farmers and is the main source of foreign exchange. During the March-May cashew nut harvesting season, nearly 80% of the country’s 1.6 million people are involved in cashew nut production. The country is the world's fifth-largest cashew exporter behind India, Vietnam, Cote D'ivoire and Brazil.

In November 2009 and August 2011 Gibson Guitar Corporation in Nashville was raided by agents with the Fish and Wildlife Service federal authorities for its alleged use of making guitars from illegally sourced endangered trees. Henry Juszkiewicz, the chairperson and chief executive of Gibson Guitar stated, "The wood the government seized Wednesday [August 2011] is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier.”

Other Facts about Guinea-Bissau:
  • Portuguese is the official language of Guinea-Bissau
  • The median age 20 years old
  • Guinea-Bissau is slightly less than three times the size of US Connecticut
  • Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval.

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