Ms Rita Weidinge, Executive
Director of African Cashew Initiative (ACI), has called on African governments
to invest in the production and policy development of the cashew sector, to
increase economic value and enhance private investment.
She noted that it is imperative
for Africa to put in place consistent and coherent strategy in the value chain
by investing in research for the growth of the sector.
Ms Weidinge made the call at the
weekend in Accra at a consultation of African Public and technical Actors in
Cashew on the theme: "Opportunities of the African cashew sector”.
The workshop brought together
public officials from the ministries related to the cashew sector, public
Pan-African actors: African Union Commission and Regional Economic Communities.
In attendance are financial
institutions delegates and other technical partners, including the African
Development Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation, United Nations Industrial
Development Organisation, United Nation Development Programme, Federal Ministry
for Economic Cooperation and Development and International Trade Centre.
She explained that investment in
the sector is critical because of the growing demand for the world’s favourite
nut, adding that in the past 10 years, cashew consumption in India had doubled
while that of Europe had grown by 30 per cent.
Ms Weidinge noted that if African
governments would implement good agricultural practices and adopt improved
planting materials, African cashew farmers have a great opportunity to increase
yields and feed the new processing plants.
She said Africa accounts for 38
per cent of global cashew production, but only five per cent of global
processing and that through local processing, there is value addition potential
of 2.8 billion dollars every year and potential employment of 275,000 people in
the processing plants.
The Executive Director noted that
ACI envisage triple processing volumes by 2020 working with and supporting
commercial investment and private capital.
“ It is important to invest in
the sector because of a strong network with the objective of increasing
processing of cashews in Africa, improving competitiveness, sustainability and
growth in the industry” , she added.
“ACI has introduced a Cashew
Matching Fund, an effective instrument for private ownership that offers an
opportunity for structured investment in the sector scaling up on activities
such as farmer linkages and market information systems”.
She said about 400,000 farmers
have been trained with 22 per cent of women to increase their income as well as
create job opportunity for the youth.
“To meet the demand for cashew,
African production needs to grow on an average by eight per cent to 15 per cent
per annum from now to 2018 and beyond”.
She said even though climate
change is among the factors affecting the industry, the ACI has established a
cashew master training programme to address some of the regional problems
facing the sector.
Mr Seth Osei Akoto, Deputy
Director in charge of Cashew, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said the cashew
industry has real potential for developing value chains and creating job
opportunities and fighting against poverty.
Mr Akoto called for concerted
efforts to explore ideas and strategies in supporting the cashew value chain
activities even though 90 per cent of raw cashew nuts leave the shores of the
Mr Christoph Rauh, German Federal
Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, said his outfit has supported
the growth of agriculture in several African countries because of potential of
creating wealth and jobs for the countries.
He urged authorities to implement
policies in agricultural development by ‘walking the talk’ adding that for the
sector to succeed there is the need for partnership on a regional basis.