The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo CON, has said that Nigeria is set to host the upcoming 16th edition of the Africa Cashew Alliance Conference (ACA), Abuja from 12th to 16th September, 2022.
The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Sectary of the Ministry, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, during the inauguration of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), recently in Abuja, disclosed that the purpose of the conference is to have a sustainable African Cashew Industry for African Growth and Development, adding that “Africa Cashew Alliance was established in 2006 as an Association of African and International Businesses (AIB) with interest in promoting a global competitive cashew industry”.
The Minister further reiterated that ACA currently has about 130 members who represent all aspects of Cashew Value Chain Production with vision to achieve a sustainable African Cashew Industry that delivers the product globally.
‘’Cashew, as you know is an important commodity with high potential and prospect of providing and supporting the means of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of people across the globe, especially African producing Countries’’. Adebayo added.
He stressed that hosting the conference would enable Nigeria to be very active and supporting hundreds of thousands of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) that includes; farmers, processors, logistics and suppliers, traders and exporters of the product in the Country.
The Minister urged the LOC to liaise and work closely with the Secretariat of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) in the planning and implementation of various activities towards a successful hosting of the 16th ACA Conference.
In his response, the National President of National Cashew Association of Cashew of Nigeria (NCAN) and Co-Chairman of the LOC, Hon. Ojo Ajanaku stated that “it is a great privilege for us to be here at the inauguration of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the 16th ACA Annual Cashew Conference” adding that ” On behalf of the entire team, I expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Government through Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for pivotal role and support accorded us, the Africa Cashew Alliance from the unset where the decision to host the Conference in Nigeria taken, and to the National Cashew of Nigeria, we are grateful for standing by us as we together host this event”.
According to him the ACA annual Cashew Conference since the inception of the Alliance in 2006 has become the flagship event of the cashew industry in Africa and beyond stressing that for Fifteen (15) times, the ACA Conference has served as a unique opportunity for Africa and International stakeholders of the industry to converge and discuss challenges and opportunities, find solutions as well as renewing partnership toward building a sustainable cashew industry in the continent and beyond.
Earlier in his welcome address the Director, Commodities and Export Department and Co-Chairman, LOC Mr. Suleiman Audu stated that the Committee would assiduously work and collaborate with all relevant stakeholders in the Cashew Value Chain so as to repose the confidence given to it by the Minister.
Audu assured the Minister that the Committee would strictly be adhered to the Term of Reference (ToR) for the success of the upcoming 16th conference in Abuja.
It would be recalled that ACA conferences were held in Ghana, Tanzania
NASC, IITA signs MOU on Community based Seed entrepreneurship
National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to train thousands of community based Seed entrepreneurs as part of efforts to improve seed production and marketing in four north east States of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe.
The project, funded by USAID, will involve training and supporting 2250 seed producers to become Community Based Seed Entrepreneurs (CBSE) in the four intervention states and facilitating the formation of these CBSE into 150 community based Seed enterprises cooperatives.
Speaking during the signing ceremony at the NASC headquarters in Abuja which happened to be his last official duty before exiting the Council as the Director General, Dr. Olusegun Philip Ojo, said the Council is responsible for ensuring that farmers have good quality seeds and that the Council works with several partners.
“And most of the innovations and technology introduced in the seed industry were done in collaboration with organisations like yours. So when the idea of partnering with IITA came, we were happy to embrace it. We want to continue to expand our collaborators and partners because we are positioning the Council as centre of excellence for seed industry in West Africa.
“For your information, Nigeria produces over 50% of good quality seeds in West Africa and we have become force of a sort when it comes to seed production. So now we get several references from organisations to come to us for the seed they need.
“IITA has been a good partner as we have been able to partner on several projects such as seed codex, among other. The community seed project is very dear to our hearts because, the seed companies alone cannot take care of all the seed needs of farmers and the need to ensure that farmers at the downstream and local level have access to the best of genetics, that is what the programme is addressing, especially in the north,and seed is a game changer in agriculture, it would be good if the project can be replicated across the country to make seed available for the farmers at the grassroots,” he said.
Also speaking, before signing the MoU, IITA Chief of Party, Prakash Kant Silwal, said through its Northeast Regional Office, it has collaborated with the activity in training 1,937 Community Based Seed Producers on improved seed production and marketing techniques in Adamawa and Borno States between 2020 and 2022.
He said the organisation has also monitored the seed fields of these CBSPs and provided the needed support and guidance, tested the samples of the seeds produced by the CBSPs at its Seed laboratory in Gombe.
“Attended the annual Agricultural inputs Fair organized by the Activity to create necessary awareness for the smallholder farmers on the need to plant certified seeds instead of grains.
“All the above have significantly increased the use of certified seeds by smallholder farmers in intervention communities and resulted in an increase in yield and income.
“Scaling up of interventions in seed system development: Recently, our donor (USAID) expanded the scope of the Activity to scale-up interventions in seed system development in the existing states (Borno and Adamawa and expand into Gombe and Yobe states). This will involve supporting 2,250 seed producers to become Community Based Seed Entrepreneurs (CBSE) in the four intervention states and facilitating the formation of these CBSEs into 150 community-based seed enterprises cooperatives.
“In achieving this, the Activity still needs the continuous support of NASC as contained in the MOU that we are signing today.
“I am happy to announce that this is already happening as the activity and NASC Officials are currently organizing training for the selected 2,250 CBSP in improved seed production and marketing techniques across the four intervention states of Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe. Other activities will follow suit,” he explains.
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