|ACA President, Idrisa Kilangi of Tanzania|
The President of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), Mr Idrisa Kilangi has said the 6th ACA Annual Conference brought with it a comprehensive agenda which offers unparalleled business prospects.
“We have organised a multifaceted programme offering unprecedented business opportunities for anyone with an interest in the cashew sector – from local producers to international stakeholders,” Mr Kilangi said in his welcome remarks on Monday.
“With the launch of the first World Cashew Expo and the simultaneous meeting of the Global Cashew Task Force, the 6th ACA Conference is promising to turn into one of the biggest cashew gatherings to date, living up to this year’s ambitious aim of “Bringing the Cashew World Together!”
The yearly confab which is virtually becoming “one of the biggest cashew gatherings” in the world was held at a local hotel in the town of Kololi, situated west of the Gambian capital, Banjul on September 19-22, 2011. Held under the theme “Bringing the Cashew World Together!” the event was organised by the ACA in cooperation with the Cashew Alliance of The Gambia (CAG), with a record 350 delegates from around the world attending.
The Gambia as host has been identified as a regional center for cashew trade in the SeGaBi (Senegal, Gambia, and Guinea Bissau) sub-region and is renowned for its premium quality of raw cashew nuts.
During a press briefing earlier, USAID Contractor and Communications Manager Mr Joseph Lamport of the Accra-based West Africa Trade Hub said the ACA’s primary goal is to promote a globally competitive African cashew industry.
Mr Lamport noted that the ACA’s formation in 2006 has given cashew farmers and dealers the opportunity to add value to their products and as well serves as a job creation avenue in a continent that has witnessed high unemployment rate.
The three strategic objectives of the ACA are to increase processing of cashew in Africa, improve competitiveness and sustainability of the cashew industry, and facilitate public-private cooperation for the cashew sector.
However, Mr Lamport noted that the processing part is “very important” because it adds value to the product for farmers and move them away from being price takers but instead price givers.
A series of issues critical to the development and sustainability of the cashew industry have been discussed, among them, a vision for the Africa cashew industry – the ACA quality and sustainability seal; Agric business potentials; new market trends and opportunities for Africa; trends and technology – where next for cashew processing.
Another activity which ran alongside the ACA Conference is the “World Cashew Expo”. The exhibition will hosted equipment manufacturers, national cashew associations and input and service suppliers from around the world.
- Author: Modou S. Joof for The Voice Newspaper