Quality Improvements Key to Boosting Cashew Farmers’ Profits

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group picture of Participants
group picture of Participants

Cashew farmers have been strongly encouraged to enhance the quality of their nuts to secure better market prices.

This advice was delivered by Mr. Dwobeng Nyantakyi, the Value Chain Officer at the Wenchi Zonal Office of the Tree Crop and Development Authority (TCDA), during a recent media event held in  Sunyani.

Mr. Nyantakyi emphasized the importance of adopting proper farming techniques to produce high-quality cashew nuts.

He highlighted practices such as pruning, weeding, and ensuring the nuts are well-dried to achieve the required moisture content.

These methods, he noted, are crucial for improving the quality of the nuts, which in turn can lead to higher prices in the market. “Farmers need to focus on the quality of their produce.

Good farming practices not only improve the yield but also the market value of the nuts,” Mr. Nyantakyi stated.

He made these remarks at a media engagement organized by Cashew Watch Ghana (CWG), a civil society organization based in Sunyani.

The event aimed to address challenges in the cashew industry and improve the socio-economic livelihoods of farmers.

The engagement was part of a project funded by the Star Ghana Foundation, titled “Amplifying the Voices of Cashew Farmers in Ghana.”

This initiative is being implemented in the Jaman North and Tain Districts, as well as the Jaman South Municipality of the Bono Region.

Mr. Nyantakyi assured the farmers that the government, through the TCDA, is committed to ensuring they receive fair prices for their cashew nuts.

However, he stressed that the onus is on the farmers to produce quality nuts to benefit from this commitment.

The TCDA has registered 1,600 aggregators, traders, and importers nationwide to streamline the buying process and ensure fair practices.

He also advised farmers to sell their products to registered aggregators only, warning that it is a serious offense under the TCDA Act 1010 and the LI 2471 to engage with unregistered buyers.

“Selling to registered aggregators ensures that farmers get a fair deal and helps in maintaining the quality and integrity of our cashew exports,” Mr. Nyantakyi added.

Cashew Watch Ghana, which includes cashew farmers, media practitioners, and non-governmental organizations, continues to advocate for better conditions and policies to support the cashew sector.

The organization aims to strengthen the capacity of cashew farmers to influence policy, promote transparency, and ensure accountability within the cashew value chain.

The advice from Mr. Nyantakyi comes at a critical time when the cashew industry is seen as a potential driver for economic growth in Ghana, providing significant employment opportunities and contributing to foreign exchange earnings. By focusing on quality improvement, cashew farmers can not only increase their profitability but also strengthen the industry as a whole.

Mr Raphael Ahenu, the National Coordinator, of CWG, said the cashew sector had huge economic potential to widen the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.

There is therefore the need for the government to understand, appreciate the prospects, and invest in the sector.

Mr Ahenu said he was worried that national cocoa production, being the backbone of the economy, was fast declining due to uncontrolled illegal mining and other unscrupulous human activities.

The cashew industry could hold forth if the government shows commitment and prioritizes the sector, he stated.

Mr. Ahenu called for a fair pricing regime and price control for cashew farmers to derive optimum benefit from their farm work.

He was worried that out of over $8 billion global value price of cashews in 2022, Ghana’s share price was just around 300 million dollars.

He said the sector has grown into one that contributes significantly to economic growth, particularly in job creation and poverty reduction.

“Around 300,000 farmers are directly engaged in cashew cultivation.

According to the statistics by African Cashew Alliance, over 800, 000 people are directly and indirectly employed across the cashew supply chain, including farmers, factory workers, buyers, and exporters of the commodity in Ghana.

With an estimated annual production of between 110, 000 and 130, 000 tons of raw cashew nuts (RCNs), about 85% of which are exported, cashew has for the past five years been one of the top non-traditional export commodities in Ghana”, he indicated.

Referring to data from the Bank of Ghana, Mr. Ahenu, who is also the Chief Executive and founder of GLOMEF, the country earned 128.70 million dollars from cashew nuts exports in the first quarter of 2021.

Mr. Ahenu said although there had been some industry actors like the Ghana Cashew Traders and Exporters Association, farmer associations, and as recent as 2016, the Association of Cashew Processors Ghana (ACPG), the sector still lacks proper organization and adequate supply chain linkages, especially among cashew smallholder farmers.

“However, the lack of proper coordination among the various actor associations meant that these associations sometimes pushed the interests of their members and not the sector in its entirety.

This also resulted in illegal activities like the smuggling of nuts to and fro neighboring countries and gave way for unauthorized buyers and exporters to buy directly at the farm gate at lower prices and without allowing proper drying to be done by farmers.

All these contributed to the price volatility of cashews and resulted in the low level of local processing in Ghana”, he further stated.

The Bono Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Dennis Abugri Amenga, acknowledged the contributions of Cashew Watch Ghana in influencing policy frameworks about the cashew sector.

He said the Bono region is one of the leading producers of cashews in Ghana as it creates thousands of employment opportunities for a lot of people in the value chain.

Cashew Watch Ghana works in synergy to advocate, sensitize, and respond to issues that militate against cashew development.

The rationale behind the formation of the network was to bring together advocates in the cashew sector to advocate and promote the livelihood of cashew farmers, especially cashew women farmers in Ghana.

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