ACA and West Africa Trade Hub rebuild regional Senegalese Cashew Associations

Following an invitation of PADEC, a support development program of the Casamance Region, on December 20-21, 2012, the Trade Hub Dakar Director, Makhtar Thiam represented ACA and the USAID West Africa Trade Hub at a two days workshop in Ziguinchor (Southern Senegal) to create a new interprofessional organization in the cashew sector for the 3 administrative regions of Casamance (Ziguinchor, Sedhiou, Kolda) which provides 80% of the cashew produced in Senegal,  as well as to elect a new president for this nascent organization. 

The meeting was attended by over 80 participants including delegates, representatives of the Chambers of Commerce, Regional Development Agencies, the Ministries of Forestry, agriculture, and commerce,  International Research Group (IRD), and various local agencies. Participants discussed various issues and adopted the, the rules of procedure, roles within, and name of the organization (Cadre de Concertation des Opérateurs de la Filière Anacarde de la Casamance - COFAC), and finally elected the new Regional Committee after a vote of the 40 delegates mandated by the 4 colleges of the 3 regions. The committee elected Lamine Sene as the new President of COFAC for a two years term.

This event corresponds to the end of the first step of a process initiated by the Trade Hub and ACA in July 2011, which continued through meetings in Ziguinchor and during the ACA Conference in Banjul, The Gambia, in September 2011. The organization aims to rebuild a new national Senegalese cashew association that is more representative, more democratic, and more credible. The regional interprofessional organizations will involve producers, processors, collectors, and exporters, and at the end of the development process will unite to form a national group.