Saturday, October 1, 2011

‘ACA Seal’ to increase competitiveness of African cashew

ACA President Idrissa Kilangi signs agreement with food processors on ACA Seal
The African Cashew Alliance (ACA) Quality and Sustainability Seal is projected to bring great results for the African cashew industry, especially the desire to increase the competitiveness of African cashew in the world.
The ACA Seal, a trademark derived from the African Cashew Alliance Business Code of Conduct, was launched on September 20, 2011 during the 6th ACA Annual Conference which “brought the cashew world together” in Banjul, The Gambia.

The ACA Seal oblige cashew processors to pursue 14 procedures of international quality and food safety standards, and social-responsibility requirements, which forbid child or prison labour, discrimination, harassment, or abuse. It also exhorts for fair employee wages and benefits and health and safety issues. 

The ACA said the launch of the industry-accepted mark (ACA Seal) is the first of its kind in the world and it is intended to ensure high quality product, increase buyer confidence in African cashew and build customer loyalty. However, it noted that it will validate processors’ compliance with the provisions of ACA Seal and that it will only award the Seal through the approval of procedures instead of “random product inspections.” 

The strict conditions under the Seal are also meant to address customer complaints or rejections, which may arise from cashew infestation, foreign material, clumping or blocking, taste, food safety, and grade compliance.
According to the ACA, the Seal is in conformity with the United States Food Safety Modernisation Act and the basics for most international certifications, allowing cashew processors access to new markets. 

Cashew processing industry leaders have already committed themselves to purchasing ACA Seal approved cashews. “Kraft is very keen to increase cashew purchase from Africa that meet the required standards,” said Chris Nubern, Director of Nut Procurement, Kraft Foods. “Kraft is committed to purchasing high quality cashews and the ACA Seal approval helps us reach this goal.”
Intersnack, another industry leader also said “Intersnack is looking to source more quality shelled cashews, and believes that ACA Seal approved cashews can help meet this demand”. Its Purchasing Director, Arie Endendijk added that Intersnack is committed to purchasing ACA Seal approved cashew. 

Following a panel session on “A Vision for the African Cashew Industry – the ACA Quality and Sustainability Seal”, cashew processor industry leaders such as the Almond Board of California, Kraft Foods and Intersnack all signed an agreement with the Africa Cashew Alliance to purchase the Seal.

ACA President Idrissa Kilangi of Tanzania
In an interview with The Voice Newspaper, the ACA President, Mr Idrissa Kilangi said the benefits offered by the ACA Seal are enormous.
“Almond Board of California and other companies are the big blenders, they are the big consumers, and so doing trade with them is a boost because they’ll have to inject money for the Seal,” he said. “They’ll also give money to processors, especially the small processors and they will advertise. Our Seal will be in the market so that is a big advantage.” 

He noted that there is an initial payment for everyone using the ACA Seal, which is meant to protect African production and African cashew production. The Seal is also intended to serve as an income generating initiative, currently; ACA depends on donations and contributions.    
African cashew is sought after internationally because of its sweet taste and quality, and Mr Kilangi believes this is as a result of the nutrients contained in the African soil.

“Even in India, African cashew is used as spice, everybody is now aware that African cashew is nice and taste better than cashews produced in other regions,” said Mr Kilangi, who is also a Tanzanian-Cashew Processor.  “Big international processors are likely to make more money if they are dealing in African cashew.” 

  • Author: Modou S. Joof for The Voice Newspaper

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