Cashew Is An Important Commodity That Requires Attention

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At his second media encounter on Wednesday since coming into office last year, President Akufo-Addo was asked by a Sunyani-based reporter whether his government would prioritize roads leading to cashew producing areas in the Brong Ahafo in the same the manner it is prioritizing cocoa roads.
The importance of such a question should not be downplayed, and President Akufo-Addo stated this in no uncertain terms. “I think it is extremely important – not just for the economy of Brong Ahafo, but for the economy of Ghana – that we get on the bandwagon of developing this industry. There is a lot of money involved, for producers, for the marketers, for the distributors and also for those who will do the processing and conversion of the nuts”
“I like the concept of cashew roads; I do not know whether it is something that is being proposed, but we will see fully what is being proposed; and I think that any serious policy has to address issues of infrastructure,” he said.
Consequently, the President has launched a complete development plan aimed at revamping the cashew industry; at an event which he said will be held at Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region.
As part of its industrialization drive, government is set on reviving all collapsed cashew processing factories in the country – which numbers around 13, with a total production capacity of 90,000 metric tonnes.
However, owing to challenges in the industry, only two are operational; however, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) together with the Exim Bank is offering financial support to retool these troubled processing plants.
This great news do not only benefit the farmers of cashew but the entire national economy, since around 250,000 metric tonnes of cashew fruit gets rotten on farms annually. Interestingly, cashew fruit can be processed into jam, ethanol and juice among a host of others.
Another important intervention is the proposed levy expected to discourage excessive exports of raw cashew nuts in the absence of processing facilities. As a leading non-traditional export product, it fetched the economy a handsome of US$197million in 2016 – representing 53% of the total US$371million earnings in the agriculture non-traditional export sub-sector.
We are extremely pleased that finally a complete development plan for the cashew sub-sector has been launched by President Akufo-Addo in Wenchi, and the hard work of cashew farmers will be rewarded.