Monday, September 26, 2011

Sixth ACA Annual Conference kicks-off in Banjul

Delegates at the 6th ACA Confab (Pix: Msjoof)
The 6th Africa Cashew Alliance (ACA) Annual Conference, which is on the verge of becoming “one of the biggest cashew gatherings” kicks-off at a local hotel in the town of Kololi, situated west of the Gambian capital, Banjul on September 19, 2011.

The event, ending on September 22, is being held under the theme “Bringing the Cashew World Together!” It is organized by the ACA in cooperation with the Cashew Alliance of The Gambia (CAG), with a record 350 delegates from around the world attending.

During the four-day conference, a series of issues critical to the development and sustainability of the cashew industry will be 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 running alongside the ACA Conference is the “World Cashew Expo”. The exhibition will host equipment manufacturers, national cashew associations and input and service suppliers from around the world.

The Gambia has been identified as a regional center for cashew trade and is renowned for its premium quality of raw cashew nuts. “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,” the acting ACA President Mr Idrissa 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!”

During a press briefing, 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 a 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. 

  • Author: Modou S. Joof for The Voice Newspaper

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