Barely a month after the inauguration of Ghana’s Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA), the body has courted the wrath of cashew nut farmers in some cashew-growing areas already.
Specifically, the group is angered by attempts by Ghana Cashew Council (GCC), a Council representing cashew growers on the TCDA’s decision to implement a pricing regime they consider to be highly unfair.
According to the farmers, the GCC is making moves to dictate prices of cashew, setting an upper limit for cashew prices.
Should the GCC go-ahead to implement the new pricing regime, the farmers say their conditions will be made worse, especially when there are no support schemes put in place by the government for farmers.
Farmers will also not be able to sell the products at competitive prices should the GCC’s move be allowed to materialize.
An angry cashew farmer who spoke exclusively to adomonline.com said it stands now, cashew farmers depend on bank loans and loans from other traders to finance their farming activities hence any decision to prevent them from selling at competitive prices will take them out of business.
“We want to sell our products at competitive prices, depending on their quality so that we can pay back our loans and be able to expand our farms,” the farmer noted.
According to this farmer, any attempt by the Authority of GCC to regulate and control prices will lead to a collapse of the cashew industry and put farmers in perpetual debt situations.
Cashew growing in its current state gives numerous youth in growing areas jobs and any hasty decision to put farmers in any awkward situation will further worsen Ghana’s unemployment situation by making others very poor.
Another segment of the cashew industry value chain that will be taken out of jobs are commission-based local traders who work between export companies and farmers as the new measure, if implemented, will completely sideline them.
Absence of cashew exporters on the Ghana Cashew Council
The farmers also say the absence of big-player cashew exporters on the Ghana Cashew Council is largely to blame for the situation starring them in the face.
Were they represented on the GCC, the farmers say, the exporters’ representatives would’ve been able to give better insights into any decisions made and also give views that better advance farmers’ course.
The implementation of same or similar price regulation measures in countries such as Tanzania and Ivory Coast, the farmers say, have accounted for the collapse of their cashew export business in those countries.
The situation, the farmers have said, has had big economic implications for players in the cashew industry value chain and are wondering why the government will want to go on a similar tangent.
The farmers insist therefore that a free market policy, as has always been the case, must remain the way forward.
The farmers have vowed to constitute themselves into an association, if need be, to fight any obnoxious policies that will affect their livelihoods negatively.
Inauguration of Tree Crops Development Authority
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, less than a month ago, inaugurated the Tree Crops Development Authority, with the aim of using it to develop tree crops in the country.
The inauguration was done on Tuesday, 29th September 2020, at the Golden Bean Hotel in Kumasi, where he explained that the Government’s strategy is to promote the development of tree crops, other than cocoa, with equal or even higher economic potential.
The president also mandated the Authority to lead the agenda for the diversification of Ghana’s agriculture by developing the tree crops sector.
It is not clear if their body’s current attempt will benefit the sector as the president charged the body to do and a look at the policy, the farmers say, will help the industry.