The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has affirmed that the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) will be fully operational soon to regulate the production, processing and marketing of non-traditional crops like cashew as expected.
The TCDA was inaugurated by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in September 2020 as the regulatory body for six crops: cashew, shea, mango, coconut, rubber and oil palm.
However, the Authority is yet to be fully operational to effectively deliver its mandate of identifying and developing a sustainable source of funding to promote and support the development of the tree crops industry.
The B&FT has learnt that several sub-committees to oversee pricing, planning and had been formed while its Secretariat in Kumasi has also been established. That notwithstanding, the TCDA’s delay to hit the ground running leaves the numerous challenges of tree crops industry such as price fluctuation still prevails.
Commenting on the issue, Mr. Seth Osei Akoto, Director of Crop Services-MoFA said: “As a new institution, there are a lot of challenges, but hopefully moving forward in 2021 and 2022, we’ll have the Authority operationalized to support activities of tree crops value chain actors.”
He was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a field trip to the Wenchi Agricultural Station at Wenchi in the Bono Region. The trip was organised for 22 trainees under second session of the 10th Edition of the Master Training Programme for Cashew Value Chain promotion. The participants were taken through all aspects of cashew production, including grafting and how to identify pests and insects control.
The weeklong training was a brainchild of Competitive Cashew Initiative (GIZ/ComCashew) in partnership with African Cashew Alliance (ACA) and support from MoFA and the Cocoa Research Institute Ghana (CRIG). The Programme is aimed at increasing the theoretical knowledge and practical skills of African Cashew experts along the value chain and consequently, to further promote the competitiveness of the industry.
Mr. Akoto said with the increasing climate change effect on agriculture, cashew remains the ideal crop to mitigate the desertification of the Sahel regions and urged all actors to support the development of the cashew sector, adding that its economic benefits cannot be underestimated.
Cashew is the leading non-traditional commodity in the country.
According to the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA), cashew nuts export in 2018 generated US$378.21 million for the country.
The ACA has projected significant growth in cashew production which will eventually position the country to have its fair share of the global cashew market.
Ghana’s production is projected to be between 110,000 and 130, 000 tonnes of raw cashew, around the same levels as in 2020 and in 2019.
The ACA said the establishment of the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) and the Cashew Council Ghana (CCG) are positive steps for the country harness the untapped potentials.