From 8 to 10 November 2018, Benin’s cashew processors, represented by IFA, the national cashew value chain association, took part in the third edition of the International Exhibition of Cashew Nut Processing Equipment and Technologies, SIETTA, in Abijian, organised this year in conjunction with the annual conference of the African Cashew Alliance, ACA. During the show, Benin was awarded the prize for the most beautiful booth and best presence/performance.
Over 7500 participants, 500 exhibitors and speakers, and 37 countries represented, SIETTA 2018 brought together people from all over the world, to discuss cashew nut transformation and explore the industry’s role in empowering the African youth. Panels, business meetings, innovative products, cashew tasting, as well as new processing techniques and technologies, were just some of the many activities that took place at SIETTA. Thanks to the support of partners such as BeninCajù, a project implemented by TechnoServe and the Catholic Relief Services, Benin’s cashew processors actively and successfully engaged in all trade show’s activities. Already well-known for the whiteness, size and sweetness of its cashews, Benin distinguished itself this year for the high number of delegates who were present at the show and the beauty of its booth. "We want the world to know about the outstanding quality of our cashews and to do that, we have to present our product well and use a packaging that reflects this quality", says one of IFA’s representatives.
Benin’s innovative cashew sector
TechnoServe Benin Country Director, James Obarowski and his Deputy Manager, Soulé Manigui, led several panel discussions on cashew nut shell electricity and opportunities for young people in the sector. The shell represents almost 70% of the total weight of a cashew nut and Benin will be collecting more than 24 thousand tons of cashew shells by 2020. The project BeninCajù has quickly realised the great potential hidden behind cashew shells, and is in fact already working with a cashew nut processing plant in the country to produce electricity from this otherwise wasted component. By the end of 2019, this ground-breaking innovation will become a reality. As for the opportunities for young people in the cashew industry, a great example was given by Mr Manigui, who talked about the growing need for cashew nurseries, to improve cashew trees productivity and quality - which is also a government’s priority - and the consequent increasing demand for nurseries workers.
Benin’s successful participation in SIETTA 2018 showed once again that the West African country is at the forefront of the global cashew industry and ready to fully exploit the great economic potential of this delicious nut!