The failure of cashew processors to maximise marketing tools like packaging, branding and advertisement has largely contributed to low consumption of cashew products in the country, Kwasi Asumadu – a Marketing and Advertising Consultant – has observed.
He said despite the increasing production quantity of cashew in the country, very little can be said about local consumption; hence excessive export of raw cashew nuts (RCNs) and underutilisation of cashew apples.
Local cashew processors, he indicated, do not understand the basics of marketing and branding to differentiate their cashew products like kernels and apple drinks on the domestic market. “They are unable to differentiate their products from others with captivating packaging; lack awareness of cashew products and their nutritional and health benefits; and show less patronage of electronic and social media platforms as alternatives to expensive commercial adverts,” he said.
The Marketing and Advertising Consultant urged cashew processors to collaborate with experts like graphic-designers, advertising and marketing agencies, sales and distribution agencies, and all other relevant industry players to help carve a niche for cashew products and boost local consumption, saying: “Collaboration is key, you can’t do everything by yourselves. You can have expertise in one field but it’s important to collaborate with someone with different expertise to help”.
Commenting on the cost element of marketing and branding, Mr. Asumadu said: “Poor marketing and branding is more expensive; it’s worse in the long run if one decides not to look at fields like that, as you’ll not make returns on investments”.
The Marketing Consultant shared these observations in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the opening session of branding and marketing training for actors in the cashew value chain held at Sunyani.
The training’s objective was to introduce participants to the principles and strategies of marketing and branding; application of those principles in the promotion of cashew products; as well as digital and e-commerce tools for marketing cashew nut and apple products. The participants included RCN and cashew apple processors, roasters; and representatives from public institutions such as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Women in Agricultural Development, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
It was organised by the Competitive Cashew initiative (GIZ/ComCashew) in collaboration with the Association of Cashew Processors Ghana (ACPG), with funding support from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Mrs. Juliana Ofori Karikari of GIZ/ComCashew underscored the health benefits of cashew products, and therefore implored processors to develop efficient and effective strategies to help promote their products to attract more local consumers.
She said: “Cashew apples and nuts have many nutrients and benefits – increasing ‘good’ cholesterol levels, high in copper, phosphorus, magnesium and iron among others – that are highly beneficial; but, unfortunately, consumption is low in Ghana and the African continent”.
Ghana and other African countries produce about 56 percent of the total cashew production in the world, but process less than 10 percent. Although worldwide consumption of cashew has in the past decade been growing at 7-10 percent annually, consumption in production countries like Ghana is very low. The leading consumers of cashew products in the world are India, the USA and European Union.