Mr. Tony Aidoo Best, Cashew Farmer and the National President of cashew farmers Association has disclosed to Rite News Desk that cashew farming is lucrative and money-making business which has the tendency to reduce poverty.
Cashew has over the years become the leading non-traditional export earner in Ghana’s agriculture sub-sector, contributing $196.7 million in 2016, according to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA).
Mr. Aidoo again highlighted, in 2001, Former President John Agyekum Kuffour introduced the Cashew Development Project initiative which helped improved the livelihoods of farmers in Brong Ahafo, Northern and Eastern regions for which farmers were able to acquire facilities from Agric Development through the cashew development project.
He however said, since 2009, the project collapsed leading the cashew farmers into poverty because they were not able to acquire loans to grow cashew; adding government intercom project which farmers were oriented to grow cassava ,maize, yams, groundnuts alongside growing the cashew. This according to him, money from the intercom loan was used to pay the loans contracted for cashew farming, a policy Mr. Aidoo described as a good initiative.
He further noted that the projects helped cashew production to rise to 70,000 metric tones.
Mr. Tony Aidoo who was the 2010 National Best cashew farmer and the current president of National Cashew Farmers Association, said farmers who are nominated for awards first introduce their farms to Agric Extension Officers for best farming practice assessment and evaluation such as record keeping, fertilizer application, land preparation, harvesting process but not limited to labourer management.
Cashew cultivation in Ghana started in the 1960 with sporadic planting in the central and greater Accra regions and later spread to the Brong Ahafo, Northern,Upper East and Upper West Regions. Between 1970 and 1980, the industry suffered a setback due to the absence of the needed support in terms of policies to facilitate its development.
GEPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Cashew Industry Association of Ghana and BLC consult to facilitate the development and implementation of a 10-year National Cashew Development Plan, to regulate the value chain of the Cashew Industry.
The Plan aims at regulating, formalizing and providing strategic investment to revamp the cashew industry, increase production and productivity along the value chain and ultimately regulate the industry.
Among the key objectives of the 10-Year National Cashew Development Plan (2017-2027) were to support research and development to improve inputs and technology from the farm to export.
It would also expand production of raw cashew nuts from 55,000 metric tonnes to 200,000 metric tonnes, and increase processing capacity from 57,000 metric tonnes to 200,000 metric tonnes.
Source: Nana Ama Sarfofirstname.lastname@example.org