By Daniel Gumm
PERHAPS, the crop,Â cashew is overshadowed by coffee, cocoa, and maybe cotton and oil palm, but in terms of the number of lives that can be touched, cashew is far more, than the aforementioned crops.
Cashewâ€™s potential is perhaps most pronounced in West Africa, where the sector could generate thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in revenue. The African Cashew Allianceâ€™s fourth annual conference that is focussing on improving value and increasing efficiency therefore should be an opportunity for Nigeria to buy into the development of processing cashew for the export market..
Africa produces the largest share of the worldâ€™s raw cashew nuts. In West Africa, cashew presents a golden opportunity for economic development. The conference will take place in Abidjan, Cote dâ€™Ivoire September 1_3. Click here to register.
What the ACA does best is help government, development agencies and the industry to come up with the right set of policies that will favour catalytic growth in the cashew sector. And the second thing it does and does very well is market African cashew. Despite the global economic downturn, African cashew is attracting buyers, which is remarkable.
And when processors in processors in the West African sub-region are connecting to international buyers, that is a great thing, and large buyers have actually now come onto the ground, talked to people and started buying. Thatâ€™s a hugely positive sign for the industry. Bringing together industry stakeholders from around the world demonstrates the ACAâ€™s success.
This yearâ€™s conference will feature thematic panels on market trends and quality management, as well as sessions on cashew processing and visits to processing sites. Companies and financial institutions will leap-frog access to finance constraints through a targeted business-to-investors forum.
And the $50 million African Cashew Initiative will also be a hot topic at the event.
â€œThe African Cashew Initiative is up and running,â€ Peter Keller, Director of the initiative, said of the new four_year project that aims to increase competitiveness of African cashew and benefit farmers. â€œThe initiative is generating lots of excitement. We are going to show cashewâ€™s enormous potential for West Africa.â€
The ACA is one of the partners implementing this initiative. At the conference, ACA members and stakeholders will discuss how improving value and increasing efficiency across the value chain will improve the lives of producers while increasing jobs throughout the industry at the 4th Annual Conference.