A new civil society organisations network, christened, Cashew Watch Ghana (CWG), has been formed with the primary motive of championing the growth and development of the cashew industry in the country.
The network is also aimed at promoting revolution in the commodity space through advocacies for policies that will transform the industry as a vehicle for socio-economic improvement, especially among rural women.
During the inauguration at Sunyani in the Bono region, the Acting National Convener of CWG, Raphael Godlove Ahenu, said market statistics have shown that global demand for cashew products, particularly the kernel has been increasing year-on-year-on, stressing that “there is the need for the industry to be streamlined through formulation and implementation of fit for purpose policies in order for industry actors as well as the country to maximize its benefits”.
He stated that demand and consumption of cashew kernel has soared since 2011 and in 2020, the USA, the largest import market for cashew kernel in the world increased demand and consumption growth by 8%, making a strong case for more attention and support of the sector.
The CWG has observed that notwithstanding Ghana’s position as a major producer of cashew in African and the world at large, the country is yet to fully capitalize on the growing market demand and consumption of the commodity to drive the desire socio-economic change, hence the need for a paradigm shift in the governance of the cashew sector.
Mr Ahenu pointed out that the country has the potential to derive far more from the crop if the necessary measure is adopted and implemented across the value chain, adding that it has become imperative for authorities to show utmost commitment to adding value to RCNs to create more employment as well as increase earnings from it.
“In the past, there were about 13 cashew processing factories in the country.
But currently, a few of them are operational, the rest have all shut down 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,” he said.
The Acting National Convener of CWG emphasised the organisation’s commitment and willingness to partner all key stakeholders, especially the much-talked-about Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA), GIZ and Olam to help turn things around.