ACA Hosts the first Edition of the Sahelian Cashew Forum (FOCAS) together with CIA-B

From the 21-22 June 2018, the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) together with the cashew value chain association of Burkina Faso organized the Sahelian Cashew Forum dubbed-FOCAS. The forum was supported by the GIZ Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew), SNV Netherlands Development Organization and Cadre Intégré Renforcé (CIR).   Under the theme; “:  The Cashew Sector, what reforms are favorable for a better organized, dynamic and competitive market?”, the event welcomed 322 cashew stakeholders from 12 African countries and beyond, to discuss issues focused on cashew  production and sector organization. Several informal B2B meetings were held as well as an exposition of cashew products and services.

The overall objective of the forum was to facilitate the sharing of experience among producing countries in West Africa and to enhance measures to be taken to better organize and develop the sector for the benefit of all the stakeholders. In attendence were dignitaries in the persons of H.E. Harouna Kaboré, Minister of trade, industry and craft, Ambassador Mohamed Diakite, H.E. Bourahima Sanou, the Mayor of Bobo Dioulasso, Mr. Lasssine Diawere, the Guest of honour, The Permanent Representative of ECOWAS, Burkina Faso, Mr. Mamadou Berte, the Assistant Director General of the Conseil Cotton Anacarde (CCA), Mr. Florian Wickler, Deputy Director of the Competitive cashew Initiative (ComCashew), and many national ministerial representatives.

The next two days were carefully programmed with various activities from Presentations, exhibitions, intriguing panel discussions, and personalized ‘business-to-business’ meetings with technical and development partners, government and regulatory authorities and financial institutions. Learning sessions of the first day after an official opening ceremony focused on experiences of some countries, organization of the sector and polices in West Africa and the integration of ECOWAS, and analysis of the cashew market with an emphasis on the Sahel region. These sessions featured a variety of seasoned  speakers from Rongead, ECOWAS, ComCachew, Comité de Veille des acteurs de la filière ancarde de Guinée,  Conseil Cotton et Anacarde (CCA) and many more. The day ended with a welcome cocktail at the chamber of Commerce.

The first session on the second day focused on cashew production and the role of research and dissemination of information. Areas   covered under this session included selection and multiplication techniques for cashew, impact of good farming practices on productivity, control of pests and diseases, and strategy for the dissemination of good agricultural practices. Following this session, participants had the opportunity to be taken through a practical session on how to perform the cashew outturn test. .

The second half of the day was dedicated to cashew processing. 5 panels discussed pressing issues in the processing industry   including topics covering the process and conditions for profitability in cashew processing, markets for organic cashew, cashew apple in value addition and the experience of financial institution in financing the processing of agricultural products.

Participants had the opportunity to visit Sotria-B, a processing unit located in Banfora, a city in the south western part of Burkina Faso. Sotria B is known to be one of the very first members of ACA and the longest surviving cashew processing factory in Burkina Faso, with an installed capacity of 2500 metric tons. It was established in 2003 as the first Burkinabe private enterprise, specializing in cashew processing. Presently, SOTRIA-B has a production capacity of 2 Metric tons of cashew kernel per day and employs more than 250 people with more than 90% being women.

13 exhibitors showcased a variety of cashew products and services, offering a great opportunity for participants to transact businesses, make market contacts, learn new things and make contacts with suppliers.   .

Overall, FOCAS was a great success! The African Cashew Alliance with support from national and regulatory authorities as well as development and technical partners, looks forward to organizing such learning forum which addresses pertinent issues peculiar to regions, with an objective to make the African cashew industry more sustainable and competitive.


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