George Staples, US Embassy Charge d’ Affairs was speaking at the opening of the 2015 Annual Cashew pre-marketing season consultative forum held atthe Baobab Holiday Resort.
The forum is being organized in conjunction with the USDA-funded Senegambia cashew value enhancement project, Phase 2, to facilitate consultation between and among key stakeholders of the cashew value chain.
The aim of the forum was to review and assess the performance of the 2014 cashew marketing season in order to identify key successes and challenges; engage the stakeholders in constructive discussion on better strategies for making the 2015 marketing season a success for all; and present and discuss the development of cashew market information system, MIS, and recommendation from the CEP mid-term evaluation.
He expressed delight to be associated with this important stakeholders forum on the cashew value chain, and commended the government for enjoying a strong reputation.
“I hope this will continue as you all know this can only happen when there is a consistent right policy which is used for best agricultural purposes,” he said.
The forum would give the participants the opportunities to discuss the challenges and map out the way forward in the value chain process, he said.
“It is an excellent reputation for The Gambia in the world, and I hope you will do everything possible to make sure that you maintain the reputation,” he added.
The US diplomat expects the key stakeholders to discuss on the challenges and the success of the previous marketing season, and promote a dialogue between the buyers and sellers to assess the previous performance and the current issues.
Mr. Staples also spoke of the need for teamwork, as everybody has a role to play in the whole value chain process.
He added that no one could work in isolation, as there is a need to support each other to strengthen the entire process, and to ensure The Gambia continues the national competitiveness.
He encouraged all stakeholders to be participating fully in this forum, and to collaborate and come up with ideas, share views and come up with recommendations.
He thanked the government for creating the enabling environment, and declared the US government’s continuing support to the project.
In his welcome remarks, the assistant project manager of IRD, Kebba Jassey, said this was the fifth forum they have been organizing as it is an annual event that IRD organizes to meet with the cashew stakeholders, to discuss the cashew marketing season and map out the way forward.