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Press Release: World Cashew Festival & Expo returns to Accra, Ghana November 2014

The African Cashew Alliance’s prestigious World Cashew Festival & Expo returns to Ghana for the second year running, with a four-day event beginning on 11November 2014 at the Accra International Conference Centre in Ghana. Over 400 delegates from all over the world and from all levels of the cashew value chain will converge, to forge business deals, share knowledge and discuss the future of the industry.

The Festival, supported by Ghana’s Ministry of Agriculture, comes at a crucial time for the African cashew industry, when trends are coming into focus which will have real impact on the future direction of the industry. On one hand, global consumer trends are unmistakable: demand is rising across the globe, not only in America and Europe but also in India and China. Africa, as the producer of 49% of the world’s cashew nuts, is in a unique position to benefit from this trend. At the same time, this has been a challenging year for the African cashew industry, with lower than average harvests across the continent, caused mainly by an early rainy season in West Africa and a low rainfall in East Africa.

“The challenges for the industry are clear,” said the African Cashew Alliance’s Communications Manager Craig Duncan. “To ensure that Africa benefits as much as possible from the growth in cashew demand, there is a strong need for greater investment in industrialized cashew processing, in order to keep the maximum amount of profit within the continent. But this will not be enough if African processors cannot be certain of a guaranteed supply of high quality nuts - so there is an equally strong need to engage with the farming sector and to ensure that they have access to the best practices and techniques for maximizing their output of quality nuts.”

The African Cashew Alliance, whose membership includes stakeholders at all points along the value chain from farmers to processors to international buyers, is in a unique position to bring together players from all segments of the industry to discuss the best ways of addressing these challenges. As usual, this year’s Festival promises a diverse range of workshops and panel discussions covering all aspects of the industry, as well as specially-matched business-to-business meetings and an expo of the latest in cashew processing technology.

The 2014 Festival was originally planned for Kenya, but operational difficulties prompted the ACA to move the Festival to Ghana for the second year running. “We are very much a pan-African organization, so of course we try to move the Festival around the continent as much as possible,” said the ACA’s Communications Manager Craig Duncan. “But at the same time, as an organization incorporated and headquartered in Ghana, when in doubt we bring the Festival back home.”

Given present concerns over Ebola in other parts of West Africa, the African Cashew Alliance is keen to remind visitors that Ghana remains entirely Ebola-free.  “Ghana is at the forefront of Ebola prevention,” observed the ACA’s Craig Duncan. “With President John Dramani Mahama presently holding the Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ghana’s Ebola prevention strategy is not only designed to prevent the virus from entering the country, but also to provide a template that can support other West African nations’ struggle to contain the disease.”

The Festival takes place towards the end of a 3-month period of temporary restrictions on international conferences in Ghana, designed to minimize the threat of Ebola. “We have complete confidence that present restrictions will be lifted well before the beginning of the Festival,” said Duncan. “The scheduling of this Festival for 11-14 November represents a vote of confidence in the government of Ghana, who, in partnership with the World Health Organization and the Economic Community of West African States, are ensuring that Ghana remains a safe place to visit, and remains open for business.”

In 2013, the African cashew industry earned almost USD $800 million in exports, with over USD $80 million of income retained in local communities. The continuing growth of the industry represents a huge opportunity for Africa, and the ACA’s Festival, now in its 9th year, is by now well established as the industry’s most important annual conference.

The ACA World Cashew Festival and Expo 2014 takes place at the Accra International Conference Centre from 11-14 November 2014.

For further details, contact ACA Communications Manager Craig Duncan on (+233) 302 78 22 33(+233) 302 78 22 33, or email aca@africancashewalliance.com.