Falling cashew prices threatening survival of farmers – Dep Agric Min

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Cashew

The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, George Oduro, has said there is a need to offer critical support to cashew-growing farmers on the continent, as the impact of COVID-19 on their operations is affecting their livelihoods.

“With the outbreak of COVID-19, farmers have witnessed declining farm gate prices – a situation that can greatly affect production levels and results of the many years of good agricultural practices adopted by farmers,” he said at the 14th Africa Cashew Alliance (ACA) annual cashew conference on the theme ‘Building a Viable Cashew Chain to Withstand Market Disruptions’.

As a result, the Consultative International Cashew Council – of which Ghana is a signatory – has committed itself to supporting the cashew sector in West Africa and is working on some relief programmes.

The support will include coordination and harmonisation of policies and interventions of the various processing countries in Africa, he said.

“In line with that, Ghana’s Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) will be operationalised by end of this year.

The TCDA is expected to promote and supervise the development of cash crops such as cashew and others crops in the country,” he said.

He stated that cashew is a major source of revenue in West Africa, as nearly 1.8 million farming families depend on it for their livelihood.

Also, cashew processing is a source of employment to thousands of farmers, with over 65 percent being women; and about 200 jobs are generated per 1,000 tonnes of cashew.

According to the minister: “Cashew has gradually become one of the important crops on the continent. Africa today produces 2.1 million tonnes of cashew nuts annually – representing 57 percent of the global cashew production, with West Africa accounting for 78 percent of Africa’s production.

“The Africa Cashew Alliance has proven itself to be a partner in the development of the cashew sector, and a learning hub that has brought knowledge and expertise to all stakeholders in the cashew sector of Africa,” he intimated.

On his part, the Director of Crop Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Seth Osei-Akoto,said there are challenges bedevilling the cashew sub-sector in most producing countries – including Ghana, where production levels were still low; between 200 to 400 kilogrammes per hectare, compared to the potential yield of 1,500 to 2,000 kilogrammes per hectare in Asia and other continents.

Mr. Osei-Akoto explained that under government’s flagship programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’, the ministry has supported development and distribution of about five million improved planting seedlings to farmers this year.

He said it is gratifying that government had passed the Tree Crop Development Authority Act (Act 1010) that seeks to develop and regulate the cashew sub-sector so as to enable it contribute in the country’s economic transformation.

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