ACA Successfully Hosts the Second Edition of the Sahelian Cashew Forum – FOCAS 2019!

From 5-7 August, the African Cashew Alliance together with the cashew stakeholders of Mali organized the second edition of FOCAS in Bamako. This event was supported by the Projet d'Appui à la filière de l'Anacarde au Mali (PAFAM) and the Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew).

Under the theme, “Improving Competitiveness of the Cashew Value Chain in the Sahel Countries”, the forum hosted about 250 diverse stakeholders from the public and private sector as well as development partners in the sub-region. The forum goal was to discuss issues of common interest to cashew producing countries in the Sahel region, which were this time represented by 9 countries.

The event began on August 5 with an official opening attended by dignitaries in the persons of Her Excellency, the Mayor of Bamako Municipality III, the representative of ComCashew, Dr. Bernard Agbo, the President of the Interprofession of the Malian cashew sector and the President of the African Cashew Alliance, Mr. Florentino Nanque, who welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of the African cashew industry for the socio-economic development of producer countries. The second edition of FOCAS was finally officially opened by the H.E., the Secretary General, representing the Malian Minister of Agriculture. This was followed by an official tour of the 10 exhibition booths where different products and services where displayed.

Following a successful opening, the day continued with a panel on production which discussed “The evolution of cashew nut production in the Sahel region: current situation, prospects and market trends” which featured experts from Nitidae, ComCashew, University of Ziguichor and Union Nationale des Producteurs d’Anacarde du Burkina Faso (UNPA)? Respective presentations highlighted an overview of cashew nut production trends in the sub-region and outlook for the 2019 market, new techniques and research to improve and increase production in the Sahel region (grafting, polyclonal seeds, etc.) and professionalizing cashew nut production by formalizing skills and supporting technical training capacity with the Farmer Business School (FBS) tool.

The second half of the day was dedicated to KOR and grafting, where theoretical discussions focused on the importance of each activity for the sector leading to practical demonstrations of the two techniques. This session prompted several questions and comments which included among many others: characteristics of the mother tree where the grafts are collected; consequence of poor packing of the grafts; quality criteria = moisture content, texture, defect rate, KOR; necessary tools.

Stakeholders were happy to continue the forum on the second day, August 6, as it covered issues of concern especially in Mali. The day started with a session on cashew processing, which discussed the theme: “Seizing the economic opportunities of local cashew nut processing: How to make processing more competitive in the Sahel?”. In his opening presentation, the panel moderator, Mr. Koreissi Toure, President of the Processors’ Association of Mali (GTRAM), emphasized the need to place cashew processing at the center of the competitiveness strategy of the African cashew industry. His presentation was followed by other presentations, which highlighted the basic necessities to maximize cashew processing advantages.

The second day continued with a panel on sector organization highlighting the need of a public-private dialogue for a sustainable African cashew industry. The panel featured public sector representatives in the cashew sector from Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau, who discussed the functionalities in their respective countries. Also part of this panel was the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) who gave an overview presentation of current regulatory trends and policy mapping in the African cashew producing countries, finally also emphasizing the need for “Representation of private sector interests in the regulation of the cashew sector”.

To officially close the second edition of FOCAS on August 6, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Moulaye Ahmed Boubacar, was present. In his speech, the Honourable Minister expressed gratitude to the African Cashew Alliance for hosting FOCAS 2019 in Mali. He further acknowledged the support of the donor and technical partners and encouraged local stakeholders to maximize the efforts of the former.

On the third day August 7, participants were given the opportunity to go on a discovery trip south of Bamako to Dialokoroba located in the region of Koulikoro. Here they were able to explore owner Tidiane Traore’s 2000 hectare cashew plantation where he grows a total of eight different varieties.

Following this successful second edition of FOCAS 2019, the African Cashew Alliance looks forward to supporting the Mali cashew sector with support from the government and development partners. The next edition of FOCAS will be in Guinea Bissau scheduled for March 2020.



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