Cashew loses 75% in value
“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.
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.