EU, OACPS partner ACA, GIZ/MOVE in building capacity for the global cashew industry

The European Union (EU) and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) have joined hands to co-find the regional Cashew Master Training Program (MTP) implemented by the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), the GIZ/MOVE and partners.

This move by the EU and the OACPS will benefit over 500 cashew actors in Africa, expand the expert base of the cashew industry in the next two years and allow the MTP to reach a total of 2000 participants since its inception in 2013.

The Training will also build the capacity of many more women in the cashew industry, a major step towards empowering women actors of the industry, reducing poverty and assuring sustainable growth of the industry.

Speaking on behalf of the EU and the OACPS at the opening ceremony of the first session of Edition 17 of the MTP on Monday 26th February 2024 in Accra, Ghana for 70 participants from 12 countries, the Head of Division of the EU, Mr. Luis Rodriguez, explained that funding the MTP is part of the commitment by the EU and OACPS to supporting different value chains towards sustainable food production and livelihoods in Africa and beyond. He highlighted that cashew is one of two value chains benefiting from this larger program because of its great potential in revenue generation and job creation for Africa.

“This program [the MTP] is supported by the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). This is part of a larger program that supports different value chains. Cashew has been selected as one that has the biggest potential in terms of job creation and revenue for Africa,” he said.

According to Mr. Rodriguez, the objective for co-funding the MTP is to make “cashew become instrumental in terms of bringing revenue and jobs for Africa” while also ensuring “sustainability and inclusiveness” in the cashew value chain. He entreated participants to become catalysts for change, sustainability and inclusiveness across the value chain in their respective countries.

Project Leader of the GIZ/ Market Oriented Value Chains for jobs and Growth in the ECOWAS region (MOVE/ComCashew), Madam Beate Weiskopf, reaffirmed GIZ’s commitment and continuous support to the MTP and the growth of the cashew industry at large.

She underscored the importance of gender empowerment and inclusion in the growth and sustainability of the cashew industry, expressing delight that 40% of the so far 1185 graduates of the MTP are women, with 42% being youth. This was achieved through the conscious decision to encourage more women participation in the MTP by providing special services for nursing mothers and their children while on the program.

“GIZ MOVE/ComCashew, firmly believes that a Gender Transformative Approach (GTA) is essential for bringing about lasting change and promoting gender equality in the cashew sector. To achieve this, we are committed to challenging the prevailing societal norms and empowering women and youth in all our project activities. We recognize that the active participation of both men and women is crucial for the cashew sector to become globally competitive. As such, we are working closely with our partners to ensure that women and men are equally represented and engaged in all our activities and in this training programme,” she noted.

The Managing Director of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) – the lead implementing organization of the MTP – Mr Ernest Mintah emphasized that the MTP was collaboratively initiated by the ACA, the GIZ/MOVE, Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana and other partners and has been implemented over the last ten (10) years in line with the vision of ACA and its partner as well as the ultimate vision of creating a competitive African cashew industry.

“In recognition of the important need of capable human resources in achieving this vision, the programme aims at building capacity in the industry by developing qualified professionals, in the cashew value chain, to facilitate knowledge exchange, learning, and innovations within the cashew sector in Africa,” he said.

He further stated that through the support of the EU, the OACPS and other partners, the ACA “will continue to sustain the MTP and expand its reach as we create a bigger pool of experts for the cashew industry even beyond Africa to the Caribbean and the Pacific countries”.

About the MTP

The Master Training Program (MTP) was introduced in 2013 as a unique training program that seeks to build the capacity of both existing players of the cashew industry and newcomers to create a pool of experts for the industry towards achieving the ACA and its partners’ vision of creating a competitive African cashew industry.

So far, a total of 1185 people from 20 countries have been trained across 16 editions who are making significant difference in their respective organizations and the cashew industry. The MTP is rolled out in three sessions for each edition. Session 1 of Edition 17 was held at the Hill View Guest Center in Accra from Monday 26th February to Friday 1st March 2024. A total of 70 participants from 12 different countries attended this session.

There were participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia. Sessions 2 and 3 of Edition 17 will be held in April and June in Sunyani and Yamoussoukro, respectively, after which participants will be certified as cashew master trainers and experts.

The MTP is currently implemented by the ACA in partnership with the GIZ/MOVE project, EU, OACPS, MoFA, CRIG, the Conseil du Coton et de l’ Anacarde (CCA), the Consultative International Cashew Council (CICC), among others.