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New civil society organisation launches to transform cashew sector

Cashew

Cashew Watch Ghana (CWG), a civil society organisation, has been launched to champion the growth and development of the cashew industry in the country.

CWG is a network which aims to promote a revolution in the commodity space by advocating the formulation and implementation of national policies that will transform the industry as a vehicle to push rapid socio-economic growth and development

Among other objectives, the network seeks to advocate competitive prices for the crop for the good of all actors in the cashew value chain.

A statement issued and signed by Raphael Ahenu, the acting national convenor of CWG, said market statistics show that global demand for cashew products, particularly the kernel, has been increasing year on year.

This underlines the need for Ghana to streamline its industry by implementing pragmatic policies.

“Demand and consumption of cashew kernel have soared since 2011. The taste for the commodity in 2021 will remain stronger, especially in Europe and America,” said a copy of the statement made available to the Ghana News Agency in Sunyani.

“In 2020, the USA, the largest import market for cashew kernel in the world, increased demand and consumption growth by 8% (African Cashew Alliance),” the statement said.

“The CWG has observed that notwithstanding Ghana’s position as a major producer of cashew in Africa and the world at large, the country is yet to fully capitalise on the growing market demand and consumption of the commodity to drive desired socio-economic change.

Earnings surge

“Ghana’s annual raw cashew nuts (RCNs) production is estimated at 110,000 metric tonnes. Cashew for some time now has been the leading non-traditional export (NTE) commodity,” it said.

CWG further said that statistics from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority show that export earnings from cashew nuts “surged by 43.84% from US$262.95 million in 2017 to US$378.21 million in 2018”.

This pushed Ghana’s earnings from NTEs up by 10% in 2018.

The statement argued that the country could derive far more from the crop if certain measures were adopted and implemented across the value chain. CWG said it has become imperative that officials responsible show the utmost commitment to adding value to RCNs to create employment and increase earnings.

“In the past, there were about 13 cashew processing factories in the country, but currently, few of them are operational. The rest are all defunct, due to a plethora of challenges such as non-competitive RCNs price and lack of modern industrial equipment.

“The few cashew factories in business are also producing below their installed capacities.

“According to GIZ/ComCashew, only 10% of the raw cashew nuts produced across Africa are processed locally. The remaining 90% of RCNs are exported for further processing, leaving a great economic potential for many African countries like Ghana, largely untapped.”

The statement offered assurances of CWG’s commitment to partnering with leading stakeholders, especially the Tree Crop Development Authority, the German development agency GIZ and Olam, to help improve the sector and boost foreign exchange earnings from the crop.

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