Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Mapping cashew plantations in Cote D’Ivoire

This MSc thesis aims to map cashew plantation densities in Cote D’Ivoire. Traditionally, cashew trees were planted by smallholder farmers to ensure and confirm ownership of land and to prevent desertification. This resulted in scattered cashew plantations, which are increasingly being used for commercial nut production. By determining the location and the quality of the plantation by its density, it will be possible to organise and improve the production of cashew nuts. Currently, the North of Cote D’Ivoire has been researched, while the aim of this thesis is to scale up to cover Cote D’Ivoire entirely.

Cote D’Ivoire is the 3rd largest cashew producer in the world and most cashew plantations can be found in the North of the country. 780,000 tons of cashew nuts have been produced in Cote D’Ivoire in 2018 (World Bank, 2018), which is about a quarter of the global cashew production. Cashew trees were introduced in the country to reduce desertification in the region. Later, the commercial value (on commercial scale) of cashew became more important. An estimated 350,000 smallholder farmers are involved in production in Cote D’Ivoire (Coulibaly, 2018). Cashew nut trees are perennial trees, which are mostly harvested during the dry season (roughly February to April).

To make cashew cultivation commercial viable, it is important the cashew trees are planted in a low density. This enables better maintenance and harvesting for the cashews, but gives room for intercropping possibilities as well.


  • Develop a methodology for detection of cashew (plantations) for the whole of Cote D’Ivoire and assess plantation density over time based on biomass with remote sensing data (Sentinel-2, PlanetScope and Planet VHR)


Theme(s): Sensing & measuring; Empowering & engaging communities