The German Development Cooperation/Competitive Cashew initiative (GIZ/ComCashew) on Friday awarded certificates to 60 Ghanaians as Cashew industry Master Trainers (MTs), following participation in three successive sessions of Master Training Programme (MTPs) in Sunyani.
The trainings, held between August and September fell under the 11th Edition of the MTPs to promote the African Cashew Value Chain (CVC), and which the Session Three ended on Friday with that award ceremony that conferred the title MTs on the participants who have now joined the community of almost 800 Cashew MTs within about 15 countries globally.
Organised by the GIZ/ComCashew in partnership with the African Cashew Alliance and support from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), each of the sessions spanned five working days.
Funded mainly by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the MTPs “seeks to increase theoretical knowledge and practical skills of African cashew experts along the value chain and consequently to further promote the competitiveness of African cashew”.
The participants had the opportunity to interact with scientists, researchers, industry experts and other resource persons from the various aspects of the value chain on international cashew market and its dynamics, quality cashew production, industry analysis, cashew and by-product processing, among other relevant topics on the cashew sub-sector.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. George Oduro, a Deputy Minister in-charge of perennial crops, MoFA said the MTP focused on producing experts and motivated change-makers who would contribute to making the cashew sub-sector more competitive and profitable to Ghana and the West-African sub-region.
Mr Oduro said the MoFA was keen in developing the cashew sub-sector even further to ensure that all stakeholders benefited from it, hence, he added the Ministry was working assiduously to operationalise the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA).
He commended SECO and GIZ/ComCashew for having been “very reliable supporters in the process of developing the Tree Crops Development Act” and therefore expressed optimism for their continuous support and future collaborations to operationalize the TCDA.
Mr Oduro, also the Member of Parliament for New Edubiase announced government’s intention to support Ghana’s current 10 active local cashew kernel and by-product processors who are having a combined capacity of about 46,000 metric tonnes to operate at their full capacities, while contributing to job creation and the improvement of livelihoods.
This, he hoped would further boost local consumption and processing in the country and therefore encourage MTs to join the campaign to promote cashew consumption locally, while spreading the message about its nutritional value.
“The cashew sub-sector in Ghana and Africa, needs experts like you to make the sub-sector more competitive, therefore, we charge you to put all knowledge and skills that you have gained here to maximum use wherever you find yourselves”.
Mr Oduro said that the entire CVC “is well-developed, the MoFA is intensifying efforts in encouraging the enrolment of more participants from partner Ministries like the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in the MTP”.
That would ensure that all stakeholders gain a good and shared understanding of the sub-sector and work efficiently to further develop it.
Madam Rita Weidinger, the Executive Director of GIZ/ComCashew stated GIZ/ComCashew had always been committed to contributing towards the developmental goals of their partner countries, particularly for rural development and job creation in the CVC.
She said in more than 10 years of operations, the GIZ/ComCashew joint efforts with public and private partners had led to the creation of around 623,000 jobs within the CVC in six project countries-Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique and Sierra Leone.
Mad. Weidinger reiterated ComCashew’s commitment to supporting the implementation of Ghana’s national policies, stressing “ComCashew is eager to support Government of Ghana in the implementation of its flagship programme – Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) to promote the rural economic growth and improve household incomes of rural farmers”.