The government is to establish a joint Tree and Industrial Crop Development Authority (TICDA) to regulate the buying and marketing of cash crops such as Cashew, Rubber, Oil Palm, Shea nut and others, beside Cocoa.
This move is in response to the incessant appeal on government to set up a Board like the Ghana Cocoa Board for Cashew for its price regulation, stability and other factors.
But a broad experts consultation by government has advised that an exclusive Board for Cashew “is not the best” since that would imply that there must be separate Boards for the other Tress and Cash Crops in the country.
Mr. Kennedy Osei Nyarko, a Deputy Minister of Agriculture said in an interview with Journalists after the opening of the second session of the Fifth Edition of the Master Training Programme (MTP) on Cashew Value Chain Promotion in Africa in Sunyani.
The programme organised by the Competitive Cashew (ComCashew) initiative in partnership with African Cashew Alliance (ACA) and support from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) spanned Monday, July 23 to Friday July 27.
It was aimed at increasing the theoretical knowledge and practical skills of African Cashew Experts along the value chain and thus further promoted the competitiveness of the African Cashew sector and also focused on the development of improved planting material and Cashew pest and disease management.
Participants were 72 Cashew experts from 11 countries-Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zambia “to share knowledge, discuss best practices and lessons learnt as well as build national and regional networks for future collaboration”.
Mr Nyarko said that Authority would be private sector-led with no government interference as the Board members and its Chair would even be proposed by the industry players.
In response to a question, he said as a private sector industry, the future of the Cashew industry was bright in Africa, citing that significantly its production in Ghana would be tremendously enhanced because of the government’s joint Board, the TICDA policy initiative which had the flexibility for the best case scenario to get the respective industries to progress.
Earlier in an address Mr Nyarko said the government had invested largely in research and in the production of improved planting materials, citing that recently under its flagship ‘Planting for Export Programme’ government would distribute over 80,000 Cashew seedlings to about 1,000 farmers to boost production and to increase productivity.
He commended ComCashew for its assistance in the establishment of a 30,000 capacity nursery in the Afrancho community in the Offinso North District, Ashanti Region, adding that nursery would aid the country to fill the current existing production gap.
Mr Nyarko lauded the Wenchi Research Station and CRIG for their continuous key contributions to Ghana’s position as a lead producer of high yielding planting materials.
He stressed Ghana therefore continued to support the West-African sub-Region with extensive research on tree crops and the supply of improved planting material, citing that Sierra Leone had benefited greatly from the supply of huge amount of seedlings.
Mr. Ernest Mintah, the Managing Director of ACA and Mr. Florian Winckler, the Deputy Executive Director of ComCashew also spoke at the programme.