Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister has appealed to the Competitive Cashew Initiative and the German Development Co-operation (GIZ), to help increase cashew production in the Region.
He said the Region had a vast potential to become the leading cashew producer in the country and pleaded with the institutions to consider the Region on their promotional agenda.
Dr Letsa made the appeal in a speech read on his behalf at the 4th edition of the master training programme on cashew value chain promotion for 12 cashew producing countries in Africa in Ho.
He said the Region could boast of major strides in cashew production and high levels of productivity with about 800 kilogramme per tree.
He called for the needed technical and “other necessary” support for increased production.
Dr Letsa said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture had developed 7.5 acres of scion garden in the Nkwanta South District with five acres of the scion garden meant for the development of improved planting materials, saying: “Volta has future in cashew production.”
Mr Collins Ntim, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development said efforts were being made for the country to overtake Cote d’Ivoire as the leading producer of cashew in Africa.
“Cote d’Ivoire is currently producing 700,000 metric tonnes a year and we produce 600,000 metric tonnes, so just give us some eight years. The President has tasked us and in eight years we shall overtake them,” he stated.
Mr Ntim said the Ministry was therefore liaising with the Department of Agriculture in 60 districts to develop high quality cashew seedlings for plantations.
Mr Seth Osei-Akoto, Crop Service Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said three central nurseries had been established to produce 200,000 improved planting materials a year to increase cashew production.
Madam Rita Weidinger, Executive Director, Competitive Cashew Initiative noted that Ghana was leading in crop research and needed a regulatory framework to position it to catch up with Cote d’Ivoire in a few years.
She said Ghana held a lot of potentials for production and processing of cashew and asked the country to give more attention to the crop for its prospects in climate change mitigation.
Madam Weidinger commended the government for its commitment to the cashew sector, through support to farmers and competitive pricing, which was attracting and making farmers eager to plant cashew.
The training programme is under the auspices of the Competitive Cashew Initiative in collaboration with the Africa Cashew Alliance and funded by GIZ.
The first session in Ho will cover the cashew value chain concept, the dynamics of the cashew market and training material development.
The highlight will be a field visit to the largest cashew processing factory in the sub-region- USIBRAS, in Prampram.