The programme, which seeks to create a pool of qualified experts along the cashew value chain to facilitate knowledge exchange, learning and innovation within the cashew sector in West Africa and beyond, is also to sustain its support for Ghana’s cashew industry.
Mr Fredrick Yaw Alipui, Policy Advisor at the Ministry, said this during the the opening ceremony of the second session of the third edition of the Master Training Programme (MTP3/2) on cashew value chain promotion on Monday in Sunyani.
The five-day international event, funded by the Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, was organised by the Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew) together with African Cashew Alliance (ACA), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Cocoa Research Institute Ghana (CRIG).
It provided a platform for about 70 cashew experts from Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Gambia, Chad, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mali, Togo and Nigeria to share knowledge, discuss best practices and lessons learnt, as well as to build national and regional networks for future collaboration.
Mr Alipui, who was speaking on behalf of Dr Ekwow Spio- Garbrah, the sector Minister, said the MTP sought to create a pool of qualified experts along the cashew value chain to enable them facilitate knowledge exchange, learning and innovation within the cashew sector in West Africa and beyond.
He said Ghana was making strides at ensuring that value was added to raw cashew nuts (RCNs) to maximise the profit in cultivating cashew, which is one of the products selected to be promoted under the national export development strategy.
Mr Alipui said to stabilise and promote the cashew industry in Africa, there was the need for African governments to emphasise on intra-regional trade and also break down barriers that hinder such progressive moves within the sub-region to boost regional economies.
Dr Babafemi Oyewole, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/Managing Director of ACA, said since 2006 his organisation had been collaborating with technical partners like ComCashew not only to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the African cashew industry but also to increase the production and processing of cashews on the continent.
He said the continuous increase of global demand for cashew has create opportunities for Africa to increase its global share in the industry and stressed the need for stakeholders to improve every level of the cashew value chain.
He said areas for improvement in the value chain ranged from promoting best farming practices to increasing in production, adopting good post-harvest techniques, food safety and quality, marketing information systems, access to finance, increasing awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of cashews.
Mada, Rita Weidinger, the Executive Director of ComCashew, said in partnership with the African Caribbean Pacific Secretariat and the European Union; the ComCashew/African Cashew initiative in the third programme phase, was aimed at expanding to more African countries and potentially to the Caribbean.
Ms. Weidinger urged participants to take advantage of the programme to come out with new ideas to enhance the performance of the cashew industry in their respective countries.
Source: GNA/News Ghana