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  • Cashew data collectors recommend improvements to ACA’s market information service

    Aug 14th, 2017

    An African Cashew Alliance (ACA) workshop in early August gathered information from market analysts and data collectors from nine ACA member countries to guide improvements and boost use of its Market Information System (MIS). The August 1-3 workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso—organized by the African Cashew Alliance with Trade Hub support — will inform a draft action plan to increase service uptake for this subscription-based service, online since 2012.

    Cashew expert Mr. James Fitzpatrick led participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo through interactive small-group sessions to assess various sources of cashew market information for independence, accuracy, and relevance. Low-quality information, he explained, is information that is inaccurate, slow, and biased or otherwise inappropriate.

    Different players in the value chain have different needs; in assessing information, it is essential to use a business approach rather than a sector approach: “Think less like value chain studies and more like traders who need to know what’s going on now, in the short term,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said. “Current information is what helps you make a decision now—do I sell or do I wait? Do I buy or do I wait?”

    ACA’s MIS is a subscription-based service that provides prices, export data, seasonal updates, and policy news to cashew stakeholders. ACA also disseminates to members, a weekly market report (AfricashewSplits), SMS price info (AfricashewBits), and country-specific price data on cashew-producing countries in Africa as well as India, Brazil and Vietnam.

    Participants, comprising farmers, processors, and officials from the public sector made several practical observations. Ms. Evelyn Obidike (above right) Deputy Director for Policy and Strategy at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, was in the group that played the role of farmers examining information on the ACA website. She presented the group’s suggestion to issue the ACA Report on Fridays rather than midweek, “to enable decision makers to analyze the information and decide whether to buy or not, before the prices change on Mondays.”

    Participants also shared thoughts on evolving demand trends in cashew raw materials in terms of volume and buyers.Mr. Ernest Mintah, Managing Director of ACA and Mrs. Kone Minata, ACA Vice President, thanked the Trade Hub for its financial and techical support in getting this workshop to become a reality, and exhorted the participants to take advantage of this great opportunity that the Hub had provided to discuss MIS and its sustainability.

    Mr. Fitzpatrick will incorporate members’ recommendations into the final draft of the action plan over the next two weeks. The updated business model to ACA will assist the organization pursue its goal of making this service sustainable through subscription fees over the next five years.