The Gambia played host to the second edition of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) cashew processing and marketing information system sub-regional conference which came to an end on Tuesday.
The synergy brought together participants from Senegal, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia. The opening session was presided over by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Regional Integration, Hon. Abdoulie Jobe.
In his welcome remarks, the President of the Cashew Alliance of The Gambia, Momodou A. Ceesay, who doubles as the Managing Director of Gambia Horticultural Enterprises said his organisation is a national association of all cashew stakeholders including farmers, processors, traders, government officers and exporters. He said it was registered as a non-profit organisation and the apex body for the cashew industry that will further the interest of the cashew sector in The Gambia.
According to him, the seminar would address very important aspects of the cashew value chain, particularly the cashew processing management and marketing information systems. “It will hopefully empower the participants to better manage their cashew businesses and make it more competitive in the international market. It will also give the participants the opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and experience, learn the latest production and processing technologies as well as market information systems,” he told the participants.
He went on to disclose that of the 700,000 tons of raw cashew nuts produced in Africa, only 20% is processed in the country and the rest is exported as raw cashew nuts. “In The Gambia less than 1% of the total raw cashew nut produced is processed locally. Thus, there is great need to intensify the processing of cashew in Africa,” he affirmed.
For his part, the Managing Director of the ACA, Dr. Babafemi O. Oyewole said the objective of the training is to bolster the competiveness of cashew business, thereby reinforcing the sustainable economic development of the industry in Africa. He said this is in line with the vision of the ACA to promote a globally competitive African cashew industry that benefits the value chain from farmers to consumers.
According to him, the market information system aspect of the training will focus on essential skills and knowledge needed to interpret and understand the global cashew market. He said for the past ten years, ACA has sought to not only improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the African cashew industry but also increase the processing of cashews on the continents. He added that their objective is to facilitate the development of an industry that benefits the entire value chain, from farmer to consumers.
To achieve this according to him, the Africa Cashew Alliance focuses on sharing information and best practices among all stakeholders in the value chain, providing technical assistance, facilitating trade and investments, and promoting international standards and market linkages.
by Fatou Trawally