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Cashew loses 75% in value

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Adnan Adams Mohammed
Cashew nut, the leading Non-Traditional Export earner after processed cocoa, is experiencing unfavorable market price in this year, losing about 75 percent of its market price from 2018 till date. 
Currently, a bag of raw cashew nuts (100kg) which was quoted at GH¢800 during the peak period in the 2018 season, has lost significant value to GH¢200 per same bag, this is about 75% reduction in price.

The market situation is causing dissatisfaction among farmers in the main cashew growing areas of the country’s middle belt as it is not prudent for them to trade at the current price considering the high labour cost of picking the nuts as well as carting it to sales points.

“Buyers have expressed concern about the high moisture content of the raw cashew nut (RCN) and ‘low’ grade of the nuts”, Solomon Ameyaw, Secretary of Tain Cashew Union said to journalists at Seikwa in the Tain district of Bono Region. He noted that, the buyers always hide behind flimsy reasons to manipulate the market.

“They raised these issues last year and farmers have taken it upon themselves to dry the nuts before selling, but it has not changed the posture of buyers,” Ameyaw said.

He said the buyers – mostly exporters – have the leeway to skew prices to the disadvantage of ‘helpless farmers’ due to the free market system. He attributed the cashew market manipulation to lack of a regulatory body to ensure fairness in the commodity trade, urging the government to fast-track establishment of the Tree and Industrial Crops Development Authority to salvage the situation.

Ghana realized US$196,783,774 in 2016 from cashew export dropping from 2015 exports proceeds of US$211,327,845.
Cashew cultivation in Ghana is largely a small holder activity with majority of farmers having an average farm size of between 0.8 – 2.5ha. More than 60,000 small holder farmers are engaged in cashew cultivation in the country.
The government’s major objective in the crops sector project is to enhance the competitiveness and profitability of crops through access to improved technological packages for increased productivity and ensure sustainable management of the environment in crop production systems.

President Akufo-Addo, during his recent tour of the Ahafo and Bono East Regions, announced that the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has completed its framing of the much-awaited tree and Industrial Crops Development Authority. The draft bill, he said, is expected to be laid in Parliament soon.

The proposed Authority will among others have the mandate to accelerate the production and marketing of tree crops including cashew, mango, rubber, oil palm and coffee. This is expected to enhance the country’s earnings from non-traditional exports.

Mr. Ameyaw also appealed to the government to ensure thorough implementation of the 10-year cashew development plan. According to him, implementers of the cashew blueprint “are sleeping on the job. Not much is happening in the area of grafting and distribution of seedlings to farmers so as to expand production”.

Cashews are in demand the world over and the market is growing. In days gone by, African countries used to export their raw cashew nuts and so forego the substantial income that can be generated by processing them. Nowadays there is more and more local processing going on.

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