Mr Edgar Maokola-Majogo, acting President African Cashew Alliance (ACA), on Tuesday said Africa was the largest producer of raw cashew nuts in the world with an estimated annual output of 1.2 million metric tons.
He said out of this output only about 15 per cent was currently processed in Africa while the bulk was exported to be processed abroad, thereby limiting the benefits of employment, investment, government revenues and foreign exchanges in Africa.
Mr Maokola-Majogo made this observation at a press conference in Accra after a two-day Executive Committee and Advisory Board of the ACA meeting, in Accra to deliberate on the implementation of strategies aimed at developing the cashew industry through increased value addition throughout the value chain.
He said the ACA would be completing its first decade of promoting the cashew industry in Africa with its international partners and was determined to chart a new course for the African cashew industry that would guarantee its global competitiveness and increase its local value addition.
He said ACA has been able to bring cashew to a prominent position as a commercial crop in Africa and with the promotion of the industry by the Alliance, Cashew is now generating interest in producing countries that were diversifying their economies.
Mr Maokola-Majogo noted that one of the major objectives of the ACA was to promote local processing of raw cashew nuts in Africa, to encourage employment and reduce poverty among the farming communities by enhancing their income.
“It is estimated that 25 percent increase in raw cashew nuts processing in Africa would generate over $100 million in household income thereby improving many of the rural families and the ACA acknowledges the bold initiatives of government to promote the industry by encouraging and supporting local processing of cashew in the country”.
He said the ACA would continue to partner with government, local and international stakeholders to support the industry through technical assistant, access to market information, business advisory services, sustainable quality assurance and food safety.
He said they would also continue to advocate for polices that would increase the production and processing of African cashew that meets international best practices, attract the needed investment into the industry and contribute to the development aspirations of producing countries.
“The cashew sector in Africa is still at its nascent stage and would need the corporation and support of all stakeholders including the government to ensure that it achieves its full potential and contributes to the national and regional economies,” he noted.
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