The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has called for a surcharge on the export of raw cashew nuts from Ghana to ensure that value is added to the nuts before they are exported.
According to the authority, besides being an international best practice as a means of investing back into the industry, the move would encourage more people to explore the alternative of adding value to the tropical nuts before they are shipped outside the country.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEPA, Mrs Gifty Klenam, who made the call at an interaction with journalists in Accra, said adding value to the nuts locally was important to make local farmers get more for their efforts, as well as rake in the needed foreign exchange.
She explained that exporting the commodity in its raw form did not fetch the country the due revenue, as the nuts commanded higher value on the international market when processed.
“At the moment, about 90 per cent of the nuts are exported raw. This is not helping local processors and the cashew nuts value chain. Processors do not have the raw materials to process,” she said.
Forex not repatriated
The GEPA leadership is also not happy that in spite of the high export of cashew, a non-traditional export (NTE) product, the foreign exchange earned is not repatriated into the country, thereby defeating the purpose of its export.
Last year, there was a temporary ban on cashew exports because in spite of the many factories set up purposely to add value to the nuts, almost everything was exported from the country, starving the local processing facilities of raw materials.
“We’re starting the conversation for a percentage of cashew to be exported raw, while the larger chunk is processed locally before export. This is to create jobs and retain foreign exchange and it is through processing that we can achieve these goals,” Mrs Klenam said.
The Deputy CEO of GEPA, Mr Eric Amoako Twum, said the authority would engage the Ministry of Finance and other relevant institutions to determine the surcharge, timelines and other fine details for implementation in the shortest possible time.
Development of sector
Last month, GEPA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Cashew Industry Association of Ghana (CIAG), an umbrella body of cashew value chain actors, to implement a 10-year National Cashew Development Strategy aimed at driving about GH¢675 million investments into the crop’s value chain.
Among other things, the strategy is expected to boost production of the crop from the current 55,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes per annum, with the large chunk processed locally.
It will also facilitate the setting up of a development board to regulate the industry and a fund to drive investments into the cashew eco-system to generate the needed value for the actors.
Processing cashew is said to increase the value of the commodity by up to 1,000 per cent. The GEPA, therefore, wants to take advantage of the large and rising global demand for the commodity to increase Ghana’s earnings from it.
There are currently about 11 processing facilities in the country and the availability of raw materials and growth in production will boost their productivity significantly.
Meanwhile, GEPA is starting regional consultations to encourage every district to identify one exportable product to receive maximum attention to enhance its production in commercial quantities.Mrs Klenam and Mr Twum explained that as the agency mandated to promote NTEs, GEPA would work closely with the districts and investors to ensure that the products meet international standards to facilitate their export.
Mrs Klenam and Mr Twum explained that as the agency mandated to promote NTEs, GEPA would work closely with the districts and investors to ensure that the products meet international standards to facilitate their export.The
The authority is starting the regional engagements today, June 6, 2017 in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
Source: Graphic online.com