THE President of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), Babatola Faseru, has stated that processing factories in Africa are still challenged with issues of inadequate access to finance, lack of processing equipment, technical knowledge and skills, storage systems among others, and that Africa processes less than 10 percent of its total production.
He stated this while speaking during the fourth Ordinary Session of the Consultative International Cashew Council (CICC), in Cameroon, adding that at the circumference of these challenges is the key issue of quality-enabling environment for a sustainable industry.
He said the future is bright for cashew production in Africa, but there are many loopholes along the line.
“Starting from the base root-production, as much as we are number one in the world, our cashew trees are producing less than expected, there is not enough diverse research and technologies to improve seed varieties, breeding .Can we arguably say that our farmers are following the appropriate post-harvest practices to minimize losses and wastage?
“Talking about processing, we witnessed especially in 2020 the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the processing sector to a large extent, however, the resilience and increasing global demand for Cashews particularly in the US, Europe, China and the Middle East kept the cashew industry strong and stable with the net export of cashew kernels increasing by about 10 percent over that of the previous year.
Speaking on the ways that ACA has been working in the cashew sector which at several levels resonate with the objectives of the CICC, he said ACA prides itself as the knowledge hub and this the Alliance has over the years harnessed.
“We have developed diverse learning and information sharing platforms for cashew stakeholders. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we moved most activities online and predominately have two of such being held every month.
Faseru said that next year, ACA will introduce the ACA Quarterly Policy Roundtable (QPR) that the purpose of the forum is to develop sustainable and inclusive policies for the African cashew industry by offering an opportunity to improve the literature and strategic plan of cashew stakeholders through cashew industry information.
“Through this forum, we will address issues around price mechanism, value chain analysis and sustainability, capacity building and access to finance.
“Also, there is the ACA Annual Conference held every September in cashew producing countries. The ACA conference continues to be a great place to learn and network in the cashew business world. It also allows stakeholders to promote their brand, products, and services”.
Speaking further he said with the Consultative International Cashew Council (CICC), coming up strong, galvanising the efforts of all governments of member-countries and working side-by-side with the private sector industry and the various development and finance partners, he sees Africa rising and becoming a giant in the global cashew landscape, creating jobs for the teeming youths.
“I see in a short time an Africa preventing the export of our highly needed jobs to other continents and retaining the utmost value of our God-given resource- Cashew. This will improve our foreign exchange earnings, improve the livelihood of our people and foster prosperity of the African continent,” he said.
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