Cashew processors have outlined plans to increase the volume of locally-sourced raw cashew nuts processed in-country from 12,000 to 80,000 metric tonnes over the next five years.
The target, when achieved, will increase the utilisation of installed processing capacities from less than 10 to 75 percent by 2023.
This, the local processors reckon, will help create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the cashew sector and help transform the country’s economy.
Mr. Nii Smith, President of the Association of Cashew Processors Ghana (ACPG) said: “Until 2023, the Association of Cashew Processors Ghana (ACPG) plans to increase processing volumes of Ghanaian raw cashew from 12,000 to 80,000 metric tonnes; and to maximise the use of installed processing capacities from the current 10 percent to 75 percent.
“As a result, local processors will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the cashew sector, with an accumulated wage of GH¢30million annum – especially for women in rural areas.”
As part of a strategy to revamp the sector, Mr. Smith said: “One of the pillars of our strategic plan is to establish strong collaboration among members of the Association in the area of exchanging technical knowledge, aimed at defining and innovating new processing models which will ensure factoring participants in the processing space more efficiently – as well as ensuring that larger factories offer market support for the small- and medium-size factories to operate”.
He was speaking at a ceremony to hand over cashew processing equipment to members of the Association by USIBRAS Ghana Limited, a Brazilian Cashew Processing Company operating in Prampram.
Mr. Smith said the equipment has come at a very decisive time, as some members of the Association are receiving training and technical support to be able to successfully evaluate and purchase appropriate processing technologies; and to develop business models which advance their business strategies to increase efficiency.
“The training is to also help members reduce processing costs, ensure food safety, and provide advocacy to engage in a policy-dialogue for the creation and implementation of a policy framework toward private sector development; and to inform financial institutions and banks about the potentials, opportunities and risks of investing into the cashew processing industry.”
The training, he said, is facilitated by the ACA and the GIZ/Competitive Cashew initiative through a co-financing with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs under its Ghana Private Sector Competitiveness Programme.
He said the association was created to formalise the cooperation of cashew processors in Ghana, in a quest to revamp and transform the cashew processing industry.
Mr. Smith said the ACPG represents the value addition segment in the cashew value chain, where there is greater potential for job creation and income generation.
Managing Director of the African Cashew Alliance, Ernest Mintah, urged the Association to maximise this opportunity and also ensure they take good advantage of the offer.
“I would like to entreat members of the Association to maximise this opportunity provided; take good advantage of this offer, revive your factories, and maintain your equipment so you become profitable for the country to benefit.”
Mr. Patricio Lima Assis, Director of USIBRAS, said the donation became necessary, because “our outfit was the only company now processing cashew”.
This, he said, does not encourage competition and promote a stronger voice for cashew processors to push forward their agenda for growth of the industry in Ghana.
Mr. Assis said the cashew industry in Ghana is strong and there isa need to develop the industry to become more lucrative.
He said the cost of each machine is about US$6,000 with a processing capacity of 150kg per hour, and this will help the beneficiaries increase production with less labour.
Verena Wiesner, Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy, said cashew is an essential commodity for development of the Ghanaian economy, and the recent announcement by government toward its development attests to this fact.
There were also representatives from the Embassies of Brazil, Switzerland and the ACA.
USIBRAS Ghana Limited is the biggest cashew processing company in West Africa, with an installed processing capacity of 30,000 metric tonnes per year for raw cashew nut processing and potential employment opportunities for about 2,000 people.