African Cashew Alliance Conference
On Tuesday, September 20th, the sixth African Cashew Alliance conference started in Banjul (Gambia). What once began as a small meeting with 23 stakeholders, 6 years later is one of the leading events in cashew. About 350 people from the industry, from Vietnam, India, Brazil, Europe and Africa, are meeting to talk about the present, the future, to learn from each other, inspire each other and seek for partnerships.
The cashew sector in Africa has changed dramatically in recent years and is about to make some major steps forward. This is one of the first conclusions we can draw, after the first meetings during the conference this week. Until recently, only 10% of cashew production from Africa, was actually processed in Africa. Local processing took place in factories with an average production of 1,000 tons, almost entirely manually. The remaining 90% of processing cashew went to Asia.
Large African factories
With rising wages in Asia, Africa recently invested in mechanical processing. The coming years large factory plants will start, with capacities of 15-30 thousand tons per factory. Expectation are that Africa will be exporting processed cashews to Asia and Brasil within five years.
New chances for African farmers
Larger plants will affect the need for constant supply and good relationships with farmers. Also, increased productivity is essential due to increasing demand. Higher revenues at constant prices will result in a more income for farmers. A unique opportunity to work wíth the industry to improve incomes. Not out of a moral point of view, but out of economic necessity. Africa is increasingly important for global food production, which means new opportunities for Africans. The 20,000 cashewfarmers FairMatch Support works with, are ready for this challenge.