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PTNPA advances international nut industry collaboration

The Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association (PTNPA) recently returned from an international trade visit, focused on meetings with leading cashew processors, influential governmental officials, and business leaders in the Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast/IVC). The trip, designed for information exchanges with the Ivory Coast’s nascent cashew processing industry, also reportedly provided context, understanding, and strengthened relationships within the global nut community.

The Côte d’Ivoire’s Cotton and Cashew Council invited PTNPA’s CEO Jeannie Shaughnessy to this multi-day, high-profile event. Shaughnessy was guided by Losseni Kone of Ivory Cashew and joined by PTNPA Member Michael Coughlin of Coughlin Insurance Services.

“Even in different languages we learned so much from each other, and more fully realize that food safety and open markets are shared priorities despite our varied geography and culture,” says Shaughnessy. “International collaboration, both import and export, will be key to the continued growth and success of our industry. We’re excited to build on the relationships formed during this extremely insightful experience and will continue to expand the voice of America’s nut industry on the global stage.”

Visiting locations including Abidjan, Toumodi, and Yamoussoukro, Shaughnessy and the delegation toured cashew processing facilities and met with government leaders including Prime Minister Robert Beugré Mambé, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mamadou Sangafowa-Coulibaly, the President of Côte d’Ivoire Chamber of Commerce and Industry Faman Touré, the Director General of the Cotton and Cashew Council Dr. Adama Coulibaly, and the U.S. Ambassador to the Ivory Coast Jessica Davis Ba.

Throughout the three-day tour, PTNPA and the delegation helmed briefings attended by hundreds of members of the press and public. Discussions focused on food safety systems and the expectations outlined in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), along with hopes and dreams for business growth in U.S. markets. The PTNPA highlighted the U.S. regulatory environment, industry best practices, and opportunities for continued partnership and expanded commerce.

“We were very impressed with the strides Côte d’Ivoire’s cashew processing industry has made in building a robust economic engine that also respects the United States’ rigorous food safety standards,” says Shaughnessy. “The Cote d’Ivoire’s government and businesses clearly recognize the importance of food safety in order to build customer confidence in their products. During the past five years, it appears that the IVC cashew industry has quickly implemented serious programs to successfully increase exports to the U.S. market. We look forward to continuing to support their endeavors.”

Ivory Coast is a leading producer of cashew nuts with an estimated production of 1,225,935 tons in 2023. By 2030, the sector, with support from the government, hopes to increase production by 50%.  

“The passion and energy of the people working in the cashew industry in the Ivory Coast is magnetic and inspiring,” says Shaughnessy.

Celebrating its 85th anniversary in 2024, PTNPA’s mission is to proactively advance the nut industry through professional networking, advocacy, and education. The vision of the PTNPA is to be “The Voice of America’s Nut Industry” on behalf of all members.

“The Ivory Coast experience provided an opportunity for PTNPA to connect with an emerging nut industry, share best practices, and gain insight into new market opportunities,” says Joel Perkins, PTNPA chair and CEO of Horizon Nut Company. “Expanding our global relationships as an entire industry will benefit PTNPA Members by expanding our voice and bolstering our understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing nut industry representatives worldwide.”