20 May 2014. Brussels/ ACP: The demand for cashew nuts – the popular and nutritious snack and food source – is rising globally. With Africa turning out 1.2 million tons per year, the Africa Cashew Initiative (ACi) has highlighted the notable opportunities of cashew production and growing markets for the ACP Group.
In a presentation to ACP Secretary General H.E Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni and trade and commodity experts at the ACP Secretariat, ACi Executive Director Rita Weidinger gave an overview of the untapped prospects in the ACP that could further boost economies and contribute to poverty reduction.
The African Cashew initiative constitutes a new type of multi‐stakeholder partnership in development cooperation. The initiative is mainly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. GIZ, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH has been commissioned with the management of the project. ACi especially benefits from the diverse commercial and technical expertise of their private and public sector partners.
Through training of trainers, ACi develops local capacities of highly knowledgeable resource persons as trainers in cashew value chain including policy advice and facilitate regional exchange for learning and innovation. Series of technical trainings were given to 2,200 trainers and 62 master trainers from 7 West African countries, to 300,000 farmers, as well as to management and staff of 20 processing companies.
ACi supported the creation of more than 5,000 jobs in the new cashew processing industry, 75% of which are held by women. Further increases are possible through the processing of by-products especially the cashew apples and shells.
16 Matching fund projects with 30 public and private partners involving a total amount 6 million Euros are targeting an increase of income for 123,000 farmers linked to in-country processing and markets.