The Association of Cashew Processors Ghana (ACPG) has called on the government to quicken the pace of setting up the Tree Crop Development Authority to deal with the many challenges within the cashew industry.
According to them, challenges such as unfair Raw Cashew Nut (RCN) market, poor storage, lack of appropriate finance and improper relationship among some stakeholders within the industry can be dealt with by the Authority.
They believed the authority will be in the best legal and financial position to properly regulate the industry and formulate appropriate policies in the interest of all stakeholders of the industry.
President of the ACPG, Malvin Nii Smith, explained that a major problem facing cashew processing in Ghana is the unfair Raw Cashew Nut (RCN) market, which allows exporters to dictate and mostly out price processors at the farmgate.
According to him, this has resulted in most farmers preferring to sell to exporters at the expense of local processors, making it difficult for them to compete in the RCN market.
“Exporters can afford to increase prices to take you [local processor] out because they process at a lower cost and can supply kernel to the market cheaper.
Processors locally can not afford to buy at the same prices because the cost of processing is higher.
Until the government puts up a levy or taxes on the export of raw nuts, the marketplace is not fair,” he said in an interview.
He believed that it was necessary for the government to protect local processors because they contribute significantly to the local economy.
The ACPG is confident the Tree Crops Development Authority, established under the Tree Crops Development act will bring an end or significantly reduce most of their challenges.
“The Authority will be able to determine what a fair price is. This will help all sectors in the industry to grow hand in hand,” Mr. Smith said.
The Tree Crops Development Authority is established by the Tree Crop Development act passed by parliament in December 2019, to regulate the management, production, processing and trading in tree crops like cashew, Oil palm, shea and rubber.
Almost a year since the law was enacted, though the board has been formed, the authority is yet to be operational.