The 15th African Cashew Alliance (ACA) annual cashew conference that commenced Wednesday, September has the objective of finding solutions to challenges facing the supply chain of the commodity.
The virtual conference which began yesterday will end tomorrow 17th September 2021 while the side events are slated for 20th – 24th September 2021. The theme for the conference is “A sustainable cashew supply chain for the future.”
The conference attracted cashew experts and other prominent individuals in the global cashew space. Key among them are Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Handicraft, Harouna Kabore, Cameroon’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mbairobe Gabriel.
Other speakers are Benin’s Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Gaston Dossouhoui and Vice President cum Trade Promotions Director of the Vietnamese Cashew Association (VINACAS), Trans Van Hiep.
Commenting on this year’s cashew confab, the Managing Director (MD) of the ACA, Ernest Mintah, said the choice of the conference’s theme was inspired by lessons learnt from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts it had on the global cashew supply chain.
He explained that, while the cashew industry was not hugely affected by the pandemic as was initially feared, it has exposed some deficiencies in the global cashew supply chain that requires fixing.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the industry to a lot of looming problems. The major one is the imperfect cashew supply chain where raw cashews are produced in Africa, exported to Asia for processing, and then to Europe and America for consumption.
“This supply chain is specifically too long and may not be able to resist future shocks in the industry. It also means that Africa will continue to be a mere producer of raw cashew and will benefit less in the huge potential of the industry,” he explained.
This, he said, has necessitated the need for discussions among cashew stakeholders to improve the global cashew supply chain into one that is financially, economically, and socially sustainable and beneficial to the entire global industry.
“We need to shorten the cashew supply chain by processing at (or) closer to origin. And that means cashew processing must be improved in Africa, where over 57% of global cashew is produced. This is necessary to sustain the global cashew industry,” he emphasized.
On her part, ACA’s Head of Communication, Blessing Okam, underscored the need for stakeholders in the industry to deliberate on finding means of sustaining the cashew supply chain for the future.