2016 Mid-Year Review

Dear Cashew Stakeholders and Valued Members,

The African Cashew Alliance has implemented a number of activities, changes, and growth throughout the first half of this year. While it was difficult to choose our most significant moments, we have compiled a glimpse into some of the highlights of the past six months:

January: A ‘Business Expansion Feasibility Study’ of two Nigerian cashew processors was conducted by the Alliance and is expected to enhance their businesses operations.

On January 19th, the Cashew Industry Association of Ghana (CIAG), supported by ACA, organized a National Cashew Dialogue, titled “Revitalizing the Cashew Sector: An Opportunity Neglected by the Nation.” As part of this advocacy program, CIAG was able to identify four key strategic proposals for discussion and possible implementation.

February: ACA completed the first phase of its Cashew Processing & Market Information Systems Workshop Series, funded by USAID-WAITH. The goal of this ongoing project is to significantly increase the capacity and technical knowledge of cashew processors and market information specialists in West Africa. Since November 2015, ACA has trained approximately 60 participants from 10 West African countries. The second phase of the project commenced in May.

From February 2nd to 10th, in preparation for the ACA World Cashew Festival and Expo, a team of ACA led by the Managing Director visited Guinea Bissau to identify the available infrastructure and plan logistics for the event.  During the trip, the team met with the Minister of Economy and Finance who assured ACA of the support and assistance of the government of Guinea Bissau for the conference. As part of the activities during the trip, ACA signed a service contract of $130,950 with the PRSDA for capacity building and market information system technical assistance to selected processing industries in Guinea Bissau.

From February 18-20, ACA representatives attended the World Cashew Convention held in Dubai, UAE. The event provided a platform to showcase the services of the Alliance as well as promote and market the ACA World Cashew Festival & Expo 2016.

March: A series of meetings between ACA and major cashew stakeholders in Cote d’Ivoire – including Conseil du Cotton et Anarcarde (CCA), the Ministry of Industry & Mines of Cote d’Ivoire, and Olam Cote D’Ivoire – helped to strengthen relationships and highlight CCA role in promoting the Ivorian cashew sector.  

On March 20th, ACA held its first Executive Committee meeting in Accra, Ghana.  On the 21st, the joint Executive Committee and Advisory Board meetings took place to review the activities for the first quarter of 2016.  After the meetings, on March 21st, ACA’s Executive Committee and Advisory Board paid a courtesy visit to the Ghana Minister of Trade and Industry. This visit was made following an upheaval caused by the policy of the Ministry of Trade and Industry banning the export of raw cashew nuts for about two months during the cashew season to enable processors to procure the needed raw materials to remain in business. This visit served to reaffirm ACA’s commitment to strong public-private partnerships for the development of the African cashew industry.

April: In partnership with Self Help Africa, ACA addressed the issue of gender equality within agriculture through the "Empower Women Cashew Farmers" project in Ghana and Kenya. The project, which started in June 2015 and is funded by the Walmart Foundation, aims to increase the income of smallholder households by training farmers on good farming techniques and agricultural practices.

In order to strengthen national cashew platforms in member countries, ACA held a National Stakeholders Dialogue in Guinea-Bissau.  The event, which was organized by ACA and co-sponsored by the World Bank PRSPDA Project, sought to facilitate dialogue on the cashew value chain across various stakeholders. The forum served as an important step in promoting strong local institutions and developing action plans for each sector of the cashew industry. 

May: Mim Cashew and Agricultural Products Ltd., one the most renowned cashew processors in Ghana, was re-certified by the ACA Quality & Sustainable Seal Program.

Along with participants from 12 countries, ACA took part in a master training program, organized by ComCashew, aimed at growing professional expertise within the cashew sector.

Under its partnership with USAID West Africa Trade & Investment, ACA commenced the second phase of the Cashew Processing & Market Information Systems Workshop Series in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.  The workshops have focused on crucial issues of food safety, product quality, environmental management, and market data collection and dissemination. Two additional workshops are planned for this summer. 

June: ACA attended the INC Conference where meetings were held with international partners to consult with them on the next five year strategy. At the event, ACA participated in the meeting of the Global Cashew Council and made a presentation at the Global Inter-Board Cooperation Summit on the promotion of cashew consumption in Africa.

The ACA Secretariat bid farewell to Monique St. Jarre, a Princeton-in-Africa fellow, who served over the past year as Communications Officer. Her contributions in the Communications and Project departments remain invaluable. ACA wishes Monique all the best in her future endeavours.

In the second half of the year, we expect that the various efforts to partner and mobilize resources from regional and international institutions, such as the African Export-Import Bank, the African Development Bank, and the OPEC Fund for International Development, to implement some specific capacity building and technical assistance projects that will contribute to the efficiency of the industry and will begin to yield the desired outcomes.