The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Afro-India Technology and Societal Transformation Foundation (AITST) to support government’s plan to transform the cashew industry into an export oriented one.
The agreement comes on the back of the 10-year cashew development plan launched early this year by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Under the terms of the MoU, AITST would assist farmers in the cashew value-chain with cutting-edge technology interventions to boost the production of the crop with the ultimate aim of increasing the processing of raw cashew before export.
Ghana currently exports between 80,000 and 100,000 metric tonnes of cashew annually, most of them in the raw state.
Ms Gifty Kekeli Klenam, Chief Executive of GEPA signed on behalf of her organisation while Mr Gopi Krishna Reddy, Chief Executive Officer initialled for AITST.
Commenting on the deal, Ms Klenam said AITST would bring scientific support to farmers to be able to identify good seedlings for planting so as to increase yields.
“It is about time they partner us to make agriculture an industry that needs science application and this is what AITST stands for. It is just not just giving seeds to the farmer to go and grow.
For us this partnership is not only going to affect only cashew but there are other crops that we are interested in.Working with the Foundation.
The foundation is non-profit-making and is ready to buy the crop if ready and add value for export increase the scale for production.
On his part, Mr Reddy said AITST core objective was to bring most smart technology to farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to make the impact and grow.
He said technology was key and that smallholder farmers could make a difference with technology and AITST was ready to bring the technology to Ghanaian farmers not only in the area of cashew development but also other crops.
“In short I think collectively and collaboratively we can fully realise this vision and make Ghana the first country in Africa to process more than 40 percent of raw cashew nut in the next five years,” he said.
Mr Reddy said the government’s 10-year cashew plan sits in with AITST vision to support farmers, adding that the partnership with GEPA was not driven by profit, but the desire to make an impact in the life of smallholder farmers.
Mr Fred Akowuah, Country Director Export Trading Group, the implementing arm of AITST, said it was a privilege to play a role in the partnership and pledged to give the best support to the success of the plan by giving farmers the best technology available around the world in the field of agriculture.
“We are not only setting up a value chain system, but we are creating a lot of employment and making sure the farmers see the money in their pockets,” he said.
“So in terms of implementation and experience we have done it repeatedly in several countries. We have the experience that we want to bring to bear and we are totally buying into the idea of the Excellency the president and we would look to bring this into a successful fruition,” he added.