Friday, August 5, 2011

ACA Annual Conference in Banjul slated for September 19-22

ACA Ag President, Mr. Kilangi
Over the years, the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) conference has become one of the most renowned cashew conferences in the world, with more than 200 participants from 24 countries attending the 2010 event.
This year, the organisers have chosen The Gambian capital, Banjul to host the 6th Annual African Cashew Alliance Conference from September 19-22.
The conference is said to offer a unique chance to cashew actors to understand local processing and to get a foot into the door of local sourcing, getting access to other market players and bringing the cashew world together.
The Gambia is regarded a “relative newcomer” in the cashew world, however, it has been tipped to become a center of the cashew trade in the African region. The Gambia and her neighbors Guinea-Bissau and Senegal together produces nine (9) percent of the world crop, that is, approximately 180, 000 metric tonnes.

“A very high quality raw materials, closer to major markets (just a few hours from Europe and the closest African sea link to the United States), a nascent market for the processing industry, and the political will to incentivized cashew processing make The Gambia an excellent location to build and expand businesses and start investments,” ACA said.

In 2009, Gambian stakeholders establish the Cashew Alliance of The Gambia (CAG) under the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) National Committee, with the aim of improving the cashew sector.  

The establishment was a prelude to the 2011 cashew marketing season in The Gambia, when cashew producers, associations, local traders, transporters and exporters gathered for a marketing forum hosted by International Relief and Development (IRD). 

With over 60 participants on hand to discuss issues of controlling nut quality through education programmes targeting middle men, enforcing quality standards, pre-financing arrangements and honoring marketing agreements. 

New farmer field schools were introduced to explore cashew business basics, the producer’s role in maintaining high quality nuts, and how prices are set. 

Map of The Gambia
The acting President of the CAG, Momodou Ceesay said the Alliance, as a national private-sector association for all cashew sector stakeholders will represent and promote the interests of its members at the policy, commercial and international level (such as partnering with the ACA).

The ACA said the 2011 conference in Banjul, will offer more services, more networking platforms, new social events, and the launch of the first World Cashew Exposition. “This expo will feature processing machinery and material suppliers for processors, farmers, and roasters,” it said. 

ACA's President, Mr. Cherif Hibrahima died on March 1, 2011 and its Executive Committee said his passing is a “huge loss” for the ACA. It has since elected Mr. Idrissa Kilangi as acting President during a meeting in the Ghanaian capital, Accra on March 14-15, 2011. 

The acting President, Mr. Kilangi, is a cashew processor from Tanzania and has been a member of the ACA executive committee since 2008. He said of his appointment: 'I will do everything to honor the trust that the Executive Committee (EC) has placed in me. In the EC, we need to work very closely together in this difficult period.” 

“In Cherif, we have lost an outstanding leader who had ambitious plans for the ACA; he was ready to do great things with us. His commitment, hard work and enthusiasm will be an inspiration for us in continuing the work he has begun,” he adds. 

ACA said its complete EC will elect the new ACA President at its next session in September 2011.  

Author: Modou S. Joof for The Voice Newspaper

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