Ivory Coast, the world's biggest cashew and cocoa exporter
Ivory Coast, the world's biggest cocoa exporter overtook India in 2016 to become the world's biggest exporter of cashew nuts.
The nut is widely used in cooking and in cosmetics, while the resin from its shell is suitable for a surprising range of industrial uses.
The shell of the raw nut even contains a liquid used as a fluid for aircraft braking systems.
Now the West African nation is waging an intensifying campaign to stop smuggling of the nut known there as "grey gold".
It has strengthened its laws to punish those caught sneaking the nuts over its borders and is trying to make growers aware of the damage the illegal trade is having on the economy.
Between 150,000 and 200,000 tonnes of Ivory Coast's cashews were illicitly sold last year to neighbouring countries, including Ghana and Burkina Faso, up from nearly 100,000 tonnes the previous year, according to official figures.
"Each year, the leakage of production is a great concern," said Adama Coulibaly, director of the Ivorian Cotton-Cashew Council, which manages the sector.
Apart from illegal smuggling, the 350,000 producers in the Ivorian cashew nut sector also face a major challenge to transform their business.
While Africa accounts for about 90 percent of global cashew production, only 10 percent of that output is locally processed for derivative products.
South America and especially Asia process not only their own cashews but also those imported from Africa -- often re-exporting them afterwards.