The Country Director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Dr. William Y.K. Brown has revealed that Cashew generated US$224 million for Government of Ghana from a total export of 163,000MT in 2016/2017 farming season.
According to him, Cashew is a non-traditional crop that has become a major foreign exchange earner. “within the agricultural sector Cashew present huge opportunities for employment and income generation for thousands of people in Northern Savannah vegetation zones” he said.
The Country Director is confident that the industry will increase access to employment opportunities, ensure sustainability of development of local authorities and increase income generating activities in cashew growing areas in the selected districts by 2021, adding thatMunicipal and District Assembly’s Revenue will increase by 10% in theseCashew growing districts.
He made this disclosure during the Launch of the European Union Co-Funded Bono-Asante Cashew Project Dubbed “Cashew for income and jobs” in Wenchi in the Bono Region.
According to him the Project seeks to achieve SDG goal 1,8 and 17 in five selected districts namely: Ejura-Sekyedumase District, Wenchi, Jaman North, Nkoranza North and Tain District with the target of reaching 14,500 individuals i.e. Farmers, Nut collectors, aggregators, honey producers, Transporters and Exporters within 3 years.
The Launch was organized by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) a global Humanitarian organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church with a mission to work with people in poverty and distress to create just and positive change.
The Country Director said Ghana has comparative advantage to export more Cashew to the global market yet the non-adoption of innovations makes it impossible for cashew farmers to produce the required volumes for local processing and export.
The Project Manager for the Project Dr. Anthony Augustus Mainoo said the Project is expected to achieve the following: increase farmers income by 30%, increase employment within the Cashew sector and increase knowledge on climate change in relation to cashew production.
Accordingto him there are five basic practices that can help improve farmers yields namely: Pruning, spraying of farms to control diseases and pests, manuring and fertilization, weed control and effective nut collection.
He therefore urged farmers to adhere to these practices to increase their yields and incomes for improved living standards.
“To give strong boost to the sector, Dr. Mainoo said his outfit would also increase theoretical knowledge and practical skills of cashew farmers along the value chain” he said.
On his part Hon. Dr. Prince Kwakye Afriyie Municipal Chief Executive for Wenchi indicated that the industry has revolutionized and proven that farming can be a good income earner that sustains livelihoods.
“There may still be numerous challenges facing this industry but the fact that its gains are guaranteed makes it a worthy venture especially considering the fact that the government and other stakeholders are working on fixing these issues” he said.
Also Mr. Samuel Asante Mensah, Director for Agriculture and Food Security of ADRA Ghana revealed that cashew is one of the country’s stable cash crop that if properly managed, can help farmers to improve upon their lives.
The European Union representative who graced occasion indicated that “Farmers can make more money with Cashew nut farming especially if they have a great cashew farming business plan. The most important thing is to stick to tested and tried cashew farming tips”.
Chairman for the occasion, Nana Tabiri Asimpi Adinka Kosopre, the Wenchi Baamhene and also acting President Wenchi Traditional Council revealed that it is not the farmers that have all the problems, also the aggregators who go around to purchase cashew, In those days, there were Cocoa and Cashew inspectors in local areas, who vet and grade them into categories before they are certified for export, But today everybody seems to be in the export business, they don’t even read what standards are required in those countries they are exporting too.
They don’t read about the conditions in terms of climate issue, in terms of packaging, they don’t look at the standards at all, they are just eager to export,” he said.
“I believe collectively we can chart a path which builds on our unique strengths in our quest to increase cashew production in Ghana,Cashew nut has risen to become the second largest foreign exchange earner and export crop for Ghana. He urged all to be supportive in various stages of production”.
Also present at the Launch were representatives from the Cashew Farmer’s Associations, M/DCE’s, Coordinating Directors, Planning Officers, DoA Directors, Cashew Desk Officers, Officials from ADRA.
By: Nana Yaw Reuben Jnr