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Our History

RichardFranco_smallIn 1947, Richard Franco made his first trip to southern India to meet cashew suppliers.  Upon returning, he quickly found a ready market for the product.  Shortly thereafter, Richard opened a small office in Tribeca—then the specialty commodities trading capital of the USA—thereby creating a small commodity brokerage firm called The Richard Franco Agency, Inc. (RFA).

Over the next thirty years, Richard grew the business carefully and conservatively—seeking out the most honest and trustworthy supplier and customers of tree nuts.  Gradually, he would enter the Brazil Nut business and develop close ties to the leading Brazilian exporters.  During Richard’s tenure, RFA carefully cultivated a reputation as a service-oriented, trustworthy and fair broker of imported tree nuts.  However, in 1978, Richard unexpectedly passed away quite suddenly.

OldCashewFactory_smallUpon Richard’s passing, his wife, Leatrice and their son-in-law David took over management of RFA.  Following the tradition that Richard had left, they gradually redeveloped the business.  Over the following decade, Leatrice passed more of the management of RFA to David until she completely exited in the early 1990s.

During that time, RFA has continued to carefully expand its offerings, while maintaining a focus on the highest quality suppliers and buyers of tree nuts.  Below are some of RFA’s key product and origin introductions:


  • Late 1950s: RFA begins representing CNSL exporters and BRAZIL NUT exporters
  • 1975: RFA begins representing BRAZILIAN CASHEW exporters, maintaining strong relationships with the key suppliers to this day.
  • 1981: RFA begins representing AFRICAN CASHEW exporters.  Today RFA represents exporters from about a dozen African countries.
  • 1991: RFA begins representing MACADAMIA exporters.  Large growth in Macadamia exports to USA begins in 2000.  Today, we represent suppliers in ALL MAJOR ORIGINS.
  • 1994: RFA becomes the first broker to sell VIETNAMESE CASHEWS into the USA.  Shortly thereafter, RFA partners with Hergott & Wilson to create the first American cashew brokerage in Vietnam.
  • 2007: RFA begins representing Brazilian exporters of COCONUT WATER of HONEY.