Cashew industry to receive stimulus package – Trade Minister

cashew-nutsThe cashew industry would, next year, receive a stimulus package from government as an intervention measure to boost production, processing and export of the commodity.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Trade and Industry, said this at the opening of a four-day Cashew Festival and Expo 2013 event organised in Accra to help participants to develop the value chain process.

The event, organised by the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), is expected to help cashew farmers, processors, traders, exporters, service providers, retailers, equipment manufacturers and bankers to fashion out innovative ways to improve and sustain the industry.

Mr Iddrisu said government remained committed to roll out a divestiture of the cashew industry to promote growth and sustainability.

He told the more than 450 conference participants that government would provide the appropriate incentives to enable their businesses to thrive.

The incentives would include tax holidays, the free zone enclave instrument and assurance to repatriate profit.

Madam Patricia Alsup, Charge D’Affaires of the United States Embassy, said cashew production had merged business and developmental goals in Ghana.

She said the Ghanaian solid infrastructure and business environment provided the right investor interest in cashew.

Speaking on the Multiplier Effect of Processing Cashew Nut in Africa, a study by the West Africa Trade Hub, Madam Alsup said the research concluded that for every 1000 dollars worth of raw cashews sold in the village, 1,430 dollars were generated in the form of additional family income and 120 jobs in the community.

“The same sale of raw cashews for processing generates $2,000 in additional local community income through the creation of additional jobs and exportation of the value added product,” she said.

Mr Windfred Osei-Owusu, Acting President of the Ghana Cashew Industry Association, called on financial institutions to augment access to credit to the cashew farmers to enable them to expand their businesses.

He said cashew farmers were credit-worthy and were reputable for 100 per cent loan repayment.

Mr Osei-Owusu said this was because they were well-organised, had well-established markets, enough local processing capacity, strategic linkages in the value-chain and interventions of government through the Cashew Development Programme (CDP).

The CDP had been implemented by government to improve living conditions of cashew farmers and their households, enhance food security and increase foreign exchange earnings.

Mr Osei-Owusu said stakeholders in the industry expected that Ghana could add 25,000 metric tonnes of processing raw cashew nut to the current 27,000 metric tonnes of processing capacity to enable the country to become the biggest processing-capacity country in Africa.

He called on members of the Association to abide by ACA’s code of conduct which includes respect for food safety, environment and fair price to farmers.

The conference, on the theme: “Value Chain and Gains-Focusing on the Potential to Leverage Profit in Each Sector of the Cashew Industry in New Markets,” is expected to give farmers the platform to explore innovative business prospects in the areas such as beekeeping and production of cashew-apple juice.

Ghana produced more than 20,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts in the year 2012, with her production largely centred in the Brong Ahafo Region.

The country is considered to be the hub for trading cashews by neighbouring countries including Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.

In total, more than 80,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew nut was exported in 2011.

On the processing side, Ghana has an installed processing capacity of more than 18,000 metric tonnes.

Source: GNA

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