Setting the future for the cashew sector in ACP countries
Cotonou, Benin, 25 September 2017/ ACP: The ACP Group reaffirmed its commitment to developing cashew as a key commodity for several member states, at the 11th African Cashew Alliance (ACA) Annual Cashew Conference held in Cotonou, Benin from 18th to 21st September.
The Conference, held under the theme: “A new vision for partnerships and Investments”, was officially opened by the Benin Minister of State, H.E. Abdoulaye Bio TCHANE, and was attended by over 400 stakeholders from 28 countries, including producers, processors, traders, exporters, government institutions, equipment manufacturers and service providers.
The ACP Secretariat was represented by the Expert on Commodities and Value Chains Ms. Yvonne Chileshe. Others in attendance included the Ambassador of Ghana to Belgium & EU, H.E. Mrs. Novisi Abaidoo (pictured above).
The objective of the meeting was to bring together actors along the cashew value chain, to learn and discuss ways to boost production, deliberate on the future of processing in Africa, create business linkage between actors in the chain as well as sector organisation.
A statement delivered on behalf of the ACP Secretary General Dr Patrick Gomes, reiterated the Resolution on ACP Agricultural Commodity Trade and Sector Development adopted by the ACP Council of Ministers in May 2017, which recognised the socio-economic importance of the cashew sector for the development of several ACP countries. Cashew is also among the commodities that would be supported under the New ACP Approach on support to the development of the Agricultural Value Chains.
The meeting highlighted the growing demand worldwide for the “world’s favourite nut”. In the past 10 years cashew consumption in India has more than doubled, Europe has grown by 30% and China is on the rise too. Africa is the only continent that has the opportunity to supply this demand by increasing yields and investing in processing.
Africa accounts for 53% of global cashew production, but less than 10% of global processing. Through local processing there is value addition potential of US$ 2.8 Billion every year and potential employment of 275,000 people in the processing plants.
Addressing the conference, H.E Mrs Novisi Abaidoo, Ambassador of Ghana to Belgium & EU, stated that the cashew agenda, with its poverty eradication and overarching agenda, has a huge contribution to make towards the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to leave no one behind, as well as to the all-embracing and transformational African Union Agenda 2063.
“Winning the cashew battle is like running a race against time. We cannot afford to lose time, in view of the clear potential for the cashew industry in Africa to leapfrog,'' she said.
The Cashew Sector in Africa is still in its infancy stages and thus required Government support in view of the impact it has on Job creation especially for Women, who account for 90% of the jobs in the processing Sector. Meanwhile, the cashew processing sector is also lagging behind the production sector as less than 10% of raw cashew nuts produced were being processed in the region.
Emphasis was therefore placed on the need to put in place measures that would provide incentives for investors to engage in processing, which had an immerse impact on income and revenue generation especially for the youth and women. Further, countries were encouraged to use instruments such as export taxes on Raw Cashew Nut (RCN) to encourage local processing and reinvestment into the sector.
Cashew nuts are among the most nutritious and healthiest nuts: low in fat, zero cholesterol, high in protein with many important vitamins and minerals. Cashew apples are an excellent source of Vitamin A, B and C, high in antioxidants and minerals. They contain 5x the vitamin C content of oranges, 12x the vitamin C content of pineapple, carries important antioxidants, iron, calcium and is rich in mineral salts (Roméo CORMIER, September, 2008.) Research conducted by the Madras Diabetes Research Centre in October 2015 found that taking 30 grams of cashew kernels per day over a three-month period can increase good cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of heart disease
– ACP Press
For more information on the ACP New Approach to Commodities, please contact: Ms. Yvonne Chilseshe, Expert – Commodities and Value Chains, email@example.com