GHANA – Ghana’s cashew earned US$197 million worth in export earnings, representing 53% of the total revenue of US$371 million in agricultural non-traditional exports in 2016.

The cashew sector, with an estimated production area of about 89,000 hectares, employing 40,000 people has become the leading category in agricultural products exports, according to GNA.

To attain the district level industrialisation drive, diversify exports for more revenue and to promote the competitiveness of African cashew in the Eastern Region, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture organised a training programme for experts along the cashew value chain from Western Africa.

The government unveiled plans to establish more nurseries to ensure the availability of good planting materials to cashew farmers, increase production and encourage local processing.

Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko, the Deputy Minister in charge of Perennial Crop, Ministry of Food and Agriculture reinforced the government’s commitment to revive the sector by supporting the cashew industry with improved planting materials.

Through the Ministry, about 13 metric tonnes of polyclonal cashew seeds have been shared with Sierra Leone and Togo to strengthen the sector and make it competitive in the global market,” said Nyarko.

“As a result the European Union Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals project for the Upper West Region and surrounding districts targets climate change mitigation and adoption through cashew cultivation.”

The programme is among the efforts in ensuring competitive and sustainable cashew production in the continent through impartation of knowledge, skills and ideas on the best practices.

Mrs Marian Lamptey, the Head of Corporate Services, African Cashew Alliance, Africa is the largest producer of raw cashew nuts, accounting for more than half of the world’s production, and that processing remained a challenge with less than 10% level.

According to her, an increase of 25% in value-added cashew products would generate over US$100m in household income for rural families thus scales down the poverty levels in the continent.

Participants in the cashew value chain will be introduced to monitoring and evaluation, value chain promotion in addition to skills ranging from production and processing of raw cashew nuts, to economics, cashew market dynamics, marketing and financing mechanisms.