Guinea-Bissau is a small country (35,000 km2) located on West Africa's cost between Senegal Guinea. Its territory, once known as Kaabu, was in turns a vassal state of the Mali Empire, an empire in its own right, and a Portuguese colony.

Today its citizens comprise a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic state. Though the official language is Portuguese, the lingua franca is Kriolu, a hybrid of Portuguese and local languages. Most Guineans speak at least one ethnic language such as Balanta, Fula, Mandinga, and others. About 75 percent of the country's approximately 1.1 million inhabitants live outside the main urban areas, which include Bissau, the capital, Bafata, Bissorã, Buba, Canchungo, Catio, and Gabu. Most still live in traditional tabancas or villages.

Guinea-Bissau was the first Portuguese African colony to fight for independence and the last to win it (in 1974, after a protracted civil war). The country is struggling with its evolution from a centralized Socialist state to a free market economy. Agriculture, principally products from rural farmers, drives the economy; and cashews (known as "Guinea-Bissau's petroleum"), furnish its major fuel. Cashews are the country's second largest crop and its most important export product. Most (90%) of the cashews exported are grown and collected by some 37,000 small, rural farmers and their families rather than large "commercial" growers, who account for less than 10% of total production.

Until 1995, cashews were exported raw and processed in India, cutting out the value added by local processing. However, under the auspices of USAID's Trade and Investment Promotion Support (TIPS) project, cashew processing has become a small but growing industry. Local processing -- roasting, drying, shelling, and packaging cashews for export -- can quadruple producer's earnings.

Procajú cashews, sold at ONLY $xx per kilo, are completely organic, grown without fertilizers and pesticides. Support Guinean cashew farmers with a purchase of these delicious nuts.

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