CASHEW DEVELOPMENT PROJECT LAUNCHED TO SUPPORT PROCESSING COMPANIES

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CASHEW DEVELOPMENT PROJECT LAUNCHED TO SUPPORT PROCESSING COMPANIES.

A project designed to support the local cashew industry in the country has been launched in Accra.

The US$700,000 project is aimed at providing assistance to 13 cashew nut processing companies in the areas of marketing and research.

Ghana is partnering Brazil and Germany in a trilateral agreement in the implementation of the two-year project.The cashew industry contributes significantly to the growth of Ghana’s economy. It is currently the leading non-traditional export crop in the country.

The volume of raw cashew nuts produced in 2002 was 3,500 tonnes, increasing to 70,000 tonnes in 2015.

Significance

At the launch of the project in Accra yesterday, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr William Quaitoo, said the primary goal of the project was to accelerate research into the production of high quality cashew varieties.

“The second focus of the project is to promote cashew shell and apple processing technologies and marketing to increase the competitiveness of the value addition segment in the cashew value chain,” he added.

Transformation

Mr Quaitoo said cashew production in Ghana had gone through several transformations over the years with improved technologies.

The minister said the growth in the industry was made possible through collaborative efforts between the government and its development partners, adding that the focus had been on increasing production, productivity and value addition through processing.

Boost

The Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Laudemar Goncalves De Aguiar Neto, said the project would give a boost to the cashew industry in Ghana.

He said although Ghana had 13 cashew nut processing companies in the major cashew-growing districts in the country, only two had the production capacity.

“This project will, therefore, go a long way to create the enabling environment for the cashew industry to raise their production level,” Mr Neto stated.

Germany support

The German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christoph Retzlaff, said a project dubbed; “The Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew)” was established in 2009 to help improve cashew production in the country.

“So far, the German Development Cooperation (GIZ)/ComCashew has created 57,000 jobs for Ghanaians along the cashew value chain. Out of these jobs, the raw cashew nut and by-product processing industry has employed 2,500 staff who are earning about $ 1.5 million annually,” he indicated.

Mr Retzlaff added that under the ComCashew project, about 40,000 farmers were trained on good agricultural practices in Ghana, noting that more farmers stood to benefit from the programme.

A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (MOTI), Mr Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, said a proposal would soon be sent to Parliament to seek backing on cashew production in the country.

BY: DOMINIC MOSES AWIAH.

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