Mr Collins Ntim, Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development has hinted of plans by government to position the country as the leading producer of cashew in eight years. Cote D’Ivoire is currently Africa’s largest exporter of cashew and produces 700,000 metric tonnes a year ahead of Ghana’s 600,000 metric tonnes.
Mr Ntim at the 4th edition of a master training programme on cashew value chain promotion in Ho, noted that Ghana had almost the same agricultural land size as Cote D’Ivoire and stated government’s commitment to offer technical and financial support to farmers to increase production and create jobs.
He said the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development was therefore liaising with the Department of Agriculture in 60 selected districts to develop high quality cashew seedlings for plantations.
Mr Ntim said the districts would engage between 200 and 500 young people who would be trained in cashew agronomics to support farmers for the project. He said the project was in line with government’s one district, one factory policy and said a cashew development and management board was also being established to spearhead the sector.
Mr Seth Osei-Akoto, Crop Service Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said though Ghana was doing quite well with about 89,000 hectares of cashew under cultivation, it needed funding to do more to meet demands of processors.
He said only two processing factories out of 13 were functional due to low production and said three central nurseries had been established to produce 200,000 improved planting materials a year.
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.
The training programme is under the auspices of the Competitive Cashew Initiative in collaboration with the Africa Cashew Alliance and funded by the German Government.