As part of a sustainable production road-map toward positioning cashew crop as an agriculture goldmine, government is expected to unveil a ‘Cashew Development Policy’ next month to outline measures that will promote the cash crop’s production, sale and processing in the country.
The Cashew Development Policy will indicate government’s commitment to extending financial, distribution, material and technical support toward the production, sale and processing of cashew nuts; and will raise the country’s competitiveness in the non-traditional export commodities market. This will help improve livelihoods of rural farmers nationwide.
Speaking at the second encounter with media at Flagstaff House in Accra, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said: “There is a lot of money involved for producers, marketers, distributors, and also those who will be engaged in processing of the crop.
“I believe that I am due to go to Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region, on the 24th of February to launch the Cashew Development Plan we are proposing for the industry and the country.
That plan, when it is unveiled, will help issues of infrastructure; the nature of government support for the industry will all be put on the table.”
He added: “It is important that when you look our next door of us, Cote d’Ivoire, is making huge sums of money from this industry; and we are as capable as them of developing this industry. A full-scale development plan is in the offing, and very soon the plan will be outdoored for us in the country to see. We will see, fully, what is being proposed”.
Cashew is currently Ghana’s leading agricultural non-traditional export (NTE), generating about US$197million in 2016, and representing 53 percent of the US$371million earnings from the total agricultural NTE sub-sector.
According to available statistics, the country produces between 50,000 to 70, 0000mt of raw cashew nuts annually.
In spite of the unduly lower share of investment in the country’s cashew production sector from government, the sector still holds much potential as it is seen to be one of the most promising economic boosters – capable of generating between US$400 and US$500million revenue for the country and improving livelihoods of many rural women farmers.
Undoubtedly, cashew production and the entire value chain is seen as a viable and profitable business venture, with industry players describing it as an agricultural goldmine if well-harnessed.
With this development, the country can’t afford not to take advantage of the huge opportunity that exists within the cashew sector and its value chain.
The sector currently has 12 processing factories within the country, with a processing capacity of 60,000 metric tonnes (mt), while the country produces approximately 70,000mt of raw cashew nuts (RCN).
This deficit – among other challenges, stakeholders say – calls for an effective dialogue between government and agencies responsible for implementing policies that will help promote the sector.
Cashew production in the country is mostly carried out by smallholder framers (90%).
The past nine years experienced a growing interest in cultivation of the nuts, due largely to high demand and flourishing export markets. Approximately 75,000 farmers in the country are engaged in cashew cultivation, with most farmers located in the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Ashanti and Volta Regions.