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  • US Charge d’Affaires applauds gov’t for support to cashew industry

    Mar 24th, 2015

    The Charge d’Affaires of the United States embassy in The Gambia has applauded the government of The Gambia and the collaborative ministries for the development of the cashew sector. George Staples was speaking at a recent cashew value consultation workshop organised by the Cashew Alliance The Gambia (CAG), in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture on the 2015 annual cashew pre-marketing season.

    The US diplomat observed that The Gambia Government support to cashew industry especially the cashew farmers through-out the country is a welcoming idea and that the US Department of Agriculture is fully appreciative of the government’s efforts in that sector. He thanked The International Relief and Development (IRD) for bringing together key stakeholders in the cashew industry to discuss the upcoming cashew trade season in the country and to open dialogue between the buyers and sellers in the country. “You are here to reflect on the success and challenges of the previous seasons and also to discuss the way forward for the next cashew trade seasons. It is a pleasure for me to be here and make a few remarks on this important forum,” US diplomat said.

    He acknowledged that every stakeholder in the cashew value chain has an important role to play, noting that no one can work in isolation and that they need to support each other in the sector if they are to succeed in the system. Staples went on to stress that there must be honest collaboration among the various sectors in the chain and thus urged the participants to work together in order to strength the entire process.

    Aba Sankareh, director of Planning at the Ministry of Agriculture, thanked IRD for organising the forum, acknowledging that cashew is now becoming one of the most important commodities in the country as far as agriculture is concerned, “for the simple reason that there is already market for cashew industry in the country”. He went on: “If there is a market for cashew industry in the country, I think that is a welcoming idea for the cashew farmers throughout the country. Cashew value chain is now becoming important and my ministry will continue to work with Cashew Alliance of The Gambia and African Cashew Alliance ACA” .

    Alpha Jallow, executive secretary, Cashew Alliance of The Gambia, on behalf of Momodou A. Ceesay, president of Cashew Alliance of The Gambia, gave an overview of the Alliance. He informed that it is a national association of all cashew stakeholders including farmers, processors, traders and exporters in The Gambia. “It was established in 2010 as the apex body for the cashew industry and to further the interest of the cashew sector in The Gambia. It has a membership of 23 registered associations, institutions and companies representing various cashew value chain actors country wide.”

    Jallow acknowledged that the association also represents the interest of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) in The Gambia and that cashew sector also contributes towards improving rural livelihoods, creating employment for Gambians, bringing in much needed currency and has a positive ecological impact. The government of The Gambia, he went on, strongly supports the stakeholders of the cashew industry, private and public in charting a common vision for the development of the cashew sector within the national planning framework.

    He informed that the key recommendation of the cashew sector strategy is the need for establishing a representative public and private body to coordinate, monitor and manage the implementation of the strategy. Since the establishment of the sector in 2014, Jallow further intimated, its implementation is being coordinated and monitored by a private-public coordination committee called the ‘Cashew Sector Working Group’, which is hosted by GIEPA, chaired by CAG and of which IRD is also a member, all under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment.