The Director of Crop Services at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Seth Osei-Akoto, has asked Cashew farmers in the country to consider international market trends in the industry before they fix their prices.
Pricing of Ghana’s cashew is currently unregulated, a situation that leads to disagreements between buyers and farmers. Industry players are thus looking forward to government’s promise to set up an Authority to deal with this setback.
Cashew is currently Ghana’s leading non-traditional export. According to the Ghana Export Promotions Authority (GEPA), cashew fetched the country US$981 million in 2018. Ghana’s cashew export destinations include Vietnam and India.
The government in August 2018 announced the setting up 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, aside cocoa.
The Authority would be private sector-led, with no government interference, as the board members and its chairperson would be nominated by industry players.
Speaking at a training programme in Sunyani organized by Competitive Cashew Initiative under GIZ, a German development agency, in collaboration with the Ghana Skills Development Initiative, with support from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Director of Crop Services at the Ministry, Seth Osei-Akoto, advised cashew farmers to consider the international market trends of the industry in fixing their prices.
“This issue of low price; there are a lot of factors accounting for that. First of all you must realize that it is an International commodity and it is being traded all over the various countries especially Europe; that is where these kernels are sent to.We must also realize that Ghana is not the only country that is producing; our next neighbours Cote Ivoire, is the largest producer of Cashew, and in fixing these prices sometimes we need to compare what is being offered to farmers in Cote Ivoire” he said.
“This year in particular, if you look at the trend of prices in Cote D’Ivoire, it so low below what we are giving to farmers in Cote D’Ivoire, compared to what is being offered to farmers in Ghana. Inva, our Free On Board (FOB) price to farmers in Ghana is always high ranging between 69 and 78 percent, whiles FOB price in Cote D’Ivoire does not go beyond 65 percent which is an indication that as a country we are are not doing bad at all”.
The programme was aimed at equipping Training Providers from Agricultural Training Institutes in Ghana on Cashew, to ensure that the right knowledge is passed onto potential trainees who enroll in these institutions.
135 Training Providers are expected to benefit from the exercise.
There’s currently a misunderstanding between cashew farmers and buyers on the pricing of the commodity. The farmers fixed the price at 8 cedis per one kilogram but the buyers say they cannot buy at that price.
Mr. Osei-Akoto says there are challenges bedeviling the cashew sub-sector in most producing countries, including Ghana, where production levels are still low between 200 to 400 kilogrammes per hectare, compared to the potential yield of 1,500 to 2,000 kilograms per hectare in Asia and other continents.
He however says government would continue to invest in research work to boost production.
The Team Leader at Ghana Skills Development Initiative, Leonard Dogbey, called for more capacity building in the agric sector.
“Cashew Value Chain has some many occupations along the various segments of the value chain which can create unique job opportunities to the unemployed youth of our dear country.”
The participants also visited the Wenchi Farm Institute.