The African Cashew Alliance’s prestigious World Cashew Festival and Expo returns to Ghana for the second year running, with a 4-day event beginning on November 11, 2014 at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Over 400 delegates from all over the world and from all levels of the cashew value chain will converge, to forge business deals, share knowledge and discuss the future of the industry, at an event which will bring in over $1 million USD to the Ghanaian economy in the space of 4 days.
Although Ghana’s cashew industry is relatively small by global standards, cashew processing in Ghana ranks among the most industrialized in Africa, and the country by now has the capacity to process far more cashews than it harvests.
Ghana is an inspiration to other countries seeking to industrialize their cashew processing sectors, and the conference will attract businesspeople from many other parts of the continent interested in emulating Ghana’s model.
The cashew industry earns Ghana more than $18 million USD in exports every year, with over $6 million of income retained in local communities.
The past year has seen much greater government recognition of the industry, with prominent state participation in the first ever official launch of the cashew season taking place in Wenchi in April 2014, where the Ministry of Trade and Industry pledged to prioritize cashew investment promotion.
Meanwhile, 2014 has also seen calls from Ghanaian farmers asking the government to act to stabilize the market by officially regulating cashew prices in the same way it regulates other cash crops like cocoa.
While Ghana has much to teach other countries on the topic of industrialization of cashew processing, at the same time the country’s cashew farming lags behind many of its fellow producers.
This has become particularly clear in 2014, when new rules prohibiting overland cashew exports were introduced in Côte d’Ivoire, leading to a shortfall in raw cashew nuts for Ghana’s processing factories.
The 2014 Festival therefore also provides an opportunity for the various stakeholders in the Ghanaian industry to interact with other cashew producers around the world, and establish the best practices for the way forward.
This year’s Festival was originally planned for Kenya, but operational difficulties prompted the ACA to return the Festival to its traditional home base in Ghana for 2014.
“We are very much a pan-African organization, so of course we try to move the Festival around the continent as much as possible,” said the ACA’s Communications Manager Craig Duncan.
“But at the same time, as an organization incorporated and headquartered in Ghana, when in doubt we bring the Festival back home. This is not just because of our strong membership base among the Ghanaian cashew sector – it’s also because we can be certain of a strong international attendance, on account of Ghana’s reputation as being at the forefront of industrialized cashew processing in Africa.”
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