350 Gather in Accra, Ghana for The ACA World Cashew Festival and Expo 2013

On the 16-19th of September, 2013 cashew industry representatives from around the world convened in Accra, Ghana for the ACA World Cashew Festival and Expo 2013.  The event was the African Cashew Alliance's 8th annual conference, and the nearly 350 participants made it a success, once again. 

The Opening Ceremony commenced three days of partnership and knowledge sharing with a celebration of our location in Ghana and the true potential in the industry.  Madame Taraf, President of ACA, welcomed a full room of participants at the Moevenpick Ambassador Hotel with excitement for the days to come. Addressing participants she said, “I am sure that you will all once again be agents for change and growth in the cashew sector in Africa”. Along side the ACA President, various ministers from Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and, of course, Ghana welcomed participants.  Their attendance alone displays their Government’s belief that cashew can be a factor of development and poverty reduction in their respective counties, and their words reaffirmed their commitment. Honorable Haruna Iddrisu, the Minister of Trade and Industry of Ghana said he is looking forward to working with cashew producers, processors, and announced a Government stimulus program for cashews in the country.

This year's plenary sessions took place on Tuesday, the 17th, and focused on a variety of topics that are central to the cashew sector in Africa and on a global scale.  Leaders from the private and public sector discussed Farmer-Processors Partnerships, Investment opportunities along the Cashew Value Chain, Ghana's cashew market, and more.  The day was capped off with an exploration of New Market Opportunities by Dr. Kantha Shelke of Corvus Blue LLC and Harry Sinclair of Kraft Foods.  The two keynote speakers outlined the potential uses for cashew splits and the current position of cashews in the snack market, dispaying a very hopeful future for the nut.

On Wednesday, conference participants split off into separate break-out sessions throughout the day. Visiting farmers may have attended the "Farming Techniques" sessions, while processors may have learned about Satelite processing in the "Processing Techniques and Technologies" session.  All in all, 5 different breakout sessions covered a full range of cashew-related topics, and allowed participants to hand-pick their topic of choice. At the Business 2 Business Forum, traders, processors, farmers, and foreign businesses were matched in business meetings, tailored to their business interests.  The night, and conference activities in Accra, were drawn to a close at a Gala Dinner at Novotel.  Dinner was served, drinks were enjoyed, and dancing ensued as conference participants celebrated three succesful days of new partnerships and learning.

For some, the party continued on Thursday in three different field trips throughout Ghana. Fifteen traveled to Kakum National Park, where they bravely crossed a canopy walk that stretches above they beautiful rainforest.  About 40 more particpants rose bright and early on Thursday to catch a flight to Kumasi, where they either traveled to Mim Cashew Ltd. or Wenchi Agricultural Research Center.  At Mim, participants got an in-depth look at the processing factory and plantation, while at Wenchi they learned from an agricultural expert.

Overall, the ACA World Cashew Festival and Expo 2013 was a great success, thanks to the wonderful conference sponsors who made the event possible! Check back soon for a full photo gallery of the event!