Business News of Thursday, 31 May 2018
Experts in the cashew industry in Africa have revealed that the processing of cashew in Africa will help reduce the alarming rate of unemployment on the continent.
Africa which is now the largest producer of cashew nuts, accounting for more than half of the world’s production has a significant challenge regarding processing the nuts.
Currently, processing of cashew nuts remains at less than 10 % a situation expects in the cashew industry describes as unfortunate.
Addressing a gathering at the official opening ceremony of the 6th edition of a Masters Training on Cashew Value Chain Promotion a program, the Managing Director of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) Mr Ernest Mintah called on all cashew growing countries to help reduce poverty in Africa.
“Without doubt cashew has gradually become the crop of the moment in Africa. Africa is now the largest producer of raw cashew nuts accounting for more than a half of the world’s production, even though processing is still a challenge that remains at less than 10 percent, it has at this level translated into substantial wealth and employment gains for millions of families in Africa”.
“It is estimated that a further increase of 25 percent in value-added cashew products would have a tremendous impact on poverty reduction, generating over US 100 million dollars in household income for rural families. These statistics showing the great potential of the cashew sector is what sparked off the desire to implement such a program as the MTP, to build capacities in the various countries to create change in the dynamics of the industry”.
100 districts to cultivate cashew
On his part, the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Osei Nyarko who was a special guest of honour reiterated governments commitment to ensuring the growth of the cashew industry and making cashew a priority crop in the country.
“It is impossible to talk about the development of the agriculture sector without mentioning the cashew value chain. The numerous financial, social and economic benefits of cashew production and processing to the producing countries is becoming more and more evident to the government’s and sector actors of producing countries”.
“In Ghana currently, cashew among the tree crops am told is the country’s leading agricultural non-traditional export bringing in about USD 197 million worth of export revenue in 2016, representing 53 percent of USD 371 million received from the total agricultural non-traditional export sub-sector”.
Mr Osei Nyarko added, “cashew contributes to employment creation, value creation and climate change mitigation and adaptation. With an estimated production area of about 89,000 hectares, cashew has contributed to the creation of approximately 40,000 jobs in production and additionally 1,800 jobs in processing”.
He noted that with the increasing challenges due to climate change, it is of crucial importance for Ghana to develop sustainable strategies for mitigation.
Osei Nyarko revealed that about 100 districts in Ghana have been identified as suitable for future cashew cultivation.”
“This cashew cultivation will provide an alternative source of income for the local economies, we are actively putting in measures to increase production of this crop and encouraging local processing and in line with this goal of increasing this goal the government is currently working on the establishment of more nurseries to ensure the availability of good planting materials to cashew farmers across the country. I wish to assure you that government on its part is prepared to do what is possible to support the growth and development of the sector and to ensure that the country can reap maximum benefits of the cashew value chain”.
The master training program has been carefully designed to develop cashew experts who are endowed with knowledge and skills in the entire cashew value chain.
Participants will be trained in facilitating skills, training program designing, perception management among others.
Participants at the end of the training program will acquire full knowledge in most areas of the value chain, ranging from promoting best farming practices to increase in production, adopting good harvest and post-harvest practices, market information systems, access to finance, and increasing awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of cashew.