Cashew Watch Ghana launched to advocate for growth of sector

GHANA – The Cashew Watch Ghana (CWG), a new civil society organisation has been inaugurated in Ghana to champion the growth and development of the cashew industry in the country.

CWG has been formed to promote revolution in the commodity space through advocacies for the formulation and implementation of national policies, that would transform the industry as a vehicle to push rapid socio-economic growth and development.

Among other objectives, the network seeks to advocate competitive price for the commodity for the betterment of all the value chain actors, reports Ghana News Agency.

A statement issued and signed by Mr Raphael Ahenu, the Acting National Convener of CWG, noted that market statistics had shown global demand for cashew products, particularly the kernel was increasing year on year, thus underlining the need for the industry to be streamlined through formulation and implementation of pragmatic policies.

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“Demand and consumption of cashew kernel have soared since 2011. The taste for the commodity in 2021 will remain stronger, especially in Europe and America,” Mr Raphael indicated.

Ghana’s annual raw cashew nuts production is estimated at 110,000 metric tonnes

For instance, in 2020 the USA, the largest importer of cashew kernel in the world increased its demand and consumption rate by eight per cent, according to African Cashew Alliance.

Despite Ghana’s annual raw cashew nuts (RCNs) production, estimated at 110,000 metric tonnes, the country is yet to fully capitalize on the growing market demand and consumption of the commodity to drive desired socio-economic change.

The statement indicated the country had the potential to derive far more from the crop if the necessary measures such as value addition were adopted and implemented across the value chain.

“In the past, there were about 13 cashew processing factories in the country, but currently, a few of them are operational, the rest are all defunct due to 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,” indicated the statement.

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According to GIZ/ComCashew, only 10 percent of the raw cashew nuts produced across Africa are processed locally.

The remaining 90 per cent of RCNs are exported for further processing, leaving a great economic potential for many African countries like Ghana, largely untapped.

CWG has pledged its commitment and willingness to partner with key stakeholders, especially Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA), GIZ and Olam, to help improve on the nation’s cashew sector and enhance foreign exchange earnings on the crop.

Cashew for some time now has been the leading non-traditional export (NTE) commodity in the country with statistics from the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) indicating cashew nuts export earnings surged by 43.84 percent from US$262.95 million in 2017 to US$378.21 million in 2018.

Further noting the huge potential that Ghana and its neighbouring West African countries have in becoming a major supplier of cashew nuts, the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub entered into a US$3 million co-investment partnership with Red River Foods to build a sustainable root to market channel for the produce into the U.S. market.

In support of the project, RRF, which sources cashews from West Africa, will use its US$3 million Trade Hub grant in tandem with its own resources to expand and establish exports of cashews sourced from 10,950 farmers, processors, and suppliers working in the countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin.

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