Ghana to establish Cashew Regulatory Board – Minister

CashewGhana is to establish a regulatory Board for the cashew sub-sector to regulate and create a conducive environment for the growth and development of the cashew industry with consequential benefits to the national economy.

Plans are far advanced in that respect and very soon it would be given government approval for the commencement of its activities.

Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, said this when he delivered the keynote address at the opening of the second session of the third edition of the Master Training Programme (MTP3/2) on Cashew Value chain Promotion.

The five-day international event, funded by the Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development was organised by the Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew) together with African Cashew Alliance (ACA), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Cocoa Research Institute Ghana (CRIG).

It provided a platform for about 70 cashew experts from Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Gambia, Chad, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Mali, Togo and Nigeria to share knowledge, discuss best practices and lessons learnt, as well as to build national and regional networks for future collaboration.

Dr Alhassan said another objective of establishing the Board in Ghana is to create a platform for formalized interactions between government and the private sector to implement policies to ensure the viability of the cashew industry in the economy.

He said the Board was also necessary to ensure that the farmers conform to international best practices that could lead to increase in production.

Dr Alhassan said government was committed to provide the policies and investment framework to encourage robust involvement from the private sector to shore up gains chalked in the cashew industry.

He said paramount among the policies that had been formulated by the MoFA was the development of a 10-year Cashew Master Plan for Ghana which was financed by African Cashew Initiative, now ComCashew.

Dr Alhassan said the proposed interventions agreed upon by stakeholders for the 10-year cashew master plan included increasing local cashew production from the estimated 70,000 metric tonnes obtained in 2015 to 150,000 metric tonnes over the next 10 years and also increase access to raw cashew nuts (RCN) for local processing.

He said the 10-year plan would also intensify investments in research and development and establish nursery infrastructures to produce over five million improved planting materials for cultivation within five years.

The intervention is also to facilitate the expansion of RCNs processing from 4,400 metric tonnes to 56,000 metric tonnes by 2020 to yield about 11,000 metric tonnes of kernels to earn about $71 million, Dr. Alhassan added.

Mr Eric Opoku, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, said the region is the nerve-centre of the cashew industry in Ghana, because it produced half of the country’s production of 70,000 metric tonnes in 2015.

He said the cashew industry provided direct employment to about 13,000 people in the region and appealed to cashew farmers to take advantage of the programmes being put in place by MoFA, MoTI and other stakeholders like ComCashew to expand their production capacities for high economic returns.

Source: GNA

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