Gambia Benefits from USDA’s $38M Cashew Value Chain
The United States Embassy in Banjul has announced on Wednesday the launch of the $38 million cashew value chain project for The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau which will be implemented within the next six years.
The project is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and is expected to enhance the regional cashew value chain to improve the trade of processed cashews in local and international markets.
The development came after the launch of the USDA’s Food For Progress project in Dakar on the January 29th, 2020. The statement indicated that numerous government officials including The Gambia’s Trade Minister, Lamin Jobe, as well as private sector leaders from The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, discussed the regional integration of the cashew value chain.
Both the United State Ambassadors to The Gambia, Richard Carlton Paschall III, and the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, Tulinabo Salama Mushingi, emphasized the need for collaboration between the three countries.
According to the statement issued by the embassy, Ambassador Paschall highlighted the importance of creating opportunities for producers and processors to boost economic development and working together to meet the needs of local and international markets.
“I believe that government policy that encourages market-led development and regional integration of the cashew sector, through the private sector, is critical to integrate the cashew value chain and achieve the project’s goal. This will help stimulate economic development and incite the creation of jobs here in the region by meeting market demand requirements,” he was quoted in the statement as saying.
For his part, Ambassador Mushingi echoed this message by reciting the well-known proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
In turn, the government representatives of the beneficiary countries stressed the importance of adding value to their region’s cashew sector, as only approximately 5-6 percent of their produced cashew nut is processed locally. Facilitating the processing of cashew nuts within the region will create new jobs and increase incomes, attract more investment to the cashew sector, and create sustainable socio-economic development.
The workshop participants also discussed key issues for the cashew sector, including access to finance, market linkages between cooperatives and processors, organic certification, and government strategies to facilitate regional integration.
The government officials had also used the opportunity to discuss regional integration and the three governments’ roles in supporting cashew value chain actors while the private sector group, which consisted of farmer cooperatives, processors, investors and financial institutions, discussed the challenges and opportunities they face, the importance of linkages between the value chain actors, and the support they need from their governments in supporting collective sales, processing and exports.