Business News of Friday, 6 April 2012
A day’s stakeholder’s workshop for cashew farmers within Brong Ahafo Region has ended at Kenten in Techiman Municipality of Brong Ahafo Region. The workshop which was under the theme “advocating for government to intervene in the fixation of cashew purchasing pricing” was supported by BUSAC FUND and co-financed by DANIDA, European Union and USAID, all humanitarian organizations. The workshop which was aimed at getting rid of unvarying price for cashew production attracted over six hundred (600) cashew farmers across the length and breadth of Brong Ahafo Region.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Techiman Municipal Director of Agric, Mr. Effah Takyi enumerated production yield, cost of production, post harvest management, and marketing as proactive factors that should always be given urgent attention in cashew production. According to him, the Municipal Directorate has lined up a number of attractive measures to help add value to cashew production in the Municipality and its neigbouring environs. The Municipal Director posited that the enormous benefits associated with cashew production towards national economy cannot be underestimated.
On his part, the chairman of the Brong Ahafo Cashew Farmers Association (BACFA), Mr. D.K Tawiah lamented over the unprecedented myth surrounding cashew price, adding that as a result of the fluctuation, a sizeable number of cashew farmers have threatened to abandon cashew farming. He was of the view that, since cashew is reliable business, there is the need for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and Ministry of Trade and Industry as well as all affiliating bodies within the agric sector to join the crusade against poor pricing of cashew in Ghana. Mr. Effah reiterated that plans are far afoot for the executive members of BACFA to dialogue with the parliamentary select committee on cashew production. Stressing much on the pricing predicament, it was established that one of the immediate steps that can help achieve realistic result is the establishment of cashew board, like cocoa and shear butter. This is because any attempt without considering cashew board will definitely make the dream of getting uniform price a mirage.
Mr. Akparep Yaw John, service provider for the workshop, revealed that empirical evidence has made it known that there are over 10,000 small cashew holders in Brong Ahafo Region. However, since there are not enough eye-catching measures for cashew production, there is always price decline. This he buttressed it, by adding that “within the 2010-2011 cashew season, the price decline drastically in such a way that it reached GHC 1.80p per kilo and meagerly rose to just GHC2.00 per kilo”. Such unhealthy development should not be encouraged at all, instead be seen as militating tool towards cashew production in the Region. The service provider persistently appealed to the participants to give the necessary support to the management of BACFA in their quest to use possible democratic means to press home their demand.
According to Mr. Akparep, the current support and recognitions enjoyed by shear butter farmers from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture attests to the fact that it will impact positively on shear butter farmers. He explained that with intermittent advocacy programmes thereby dialoguing with authorities, cashew famers will easily benefit from similar attention from the central government. The advocacy, according to the service provider should not cease until the ultimate goal of getting a standardized price for cashew seeds is achieved.
The participants were advised to bear in mind that the intervention of the central government in cashew production will base on the frantic efforts of members to dialogue with a common mouth piece, having familiar objectives will lead to one paramount direction that will benefit all cashew farmers within Brong Ahafo Region and beyond. They were further told that the BUSAC FUND can only intervene through advocacy. However, the practicability concerning the backing needs to be carried out by members of the association without feet dragging.
Systematically, the advocacy should be based on identification or knowing the problem by members, choosing the appropriate mechanism without personal attack, support by members and continuous use of both the electronic media within the targeted communities. For this reason the cashew farmers were further educated on the need to rely on the Ministry of Food and Agric which plays a leading role in the nation’s agric sector: Ministry of Trade and Industry, that will also take the responsibility of the actual problem on board which is the pricing: and the Ghana Standard Board, in charge of certification of cashew seeds meant for the market.
The service provider later divulged that effective marketing regulatory machinery has contributed immensely towards high yield and proper pricing of cashew in Tanzania and Ivory Coast, the two African leading producers of cashew, hence the need for Ghana to emulate their good examples. He noted that, plans are far advanced for Sahel Bank to support cashew farmers in the purchasing of cashew in the Region.
In an open forum, the members call for open negotiation with the government and pledged their unflinching support for all advocacy programmes that have the tendency to overcome drawbacks associated with cashew pricing in Ghana. The participants later unanimously predicted that with proper support from the central government, cashew will definitely overtake cocoa. The farmers further took the opportunity to commend BUSAC FUND, DANIDA and USAID for their intermittent support to cashew farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region.
In attendance were the representatives of the Municipal Chief Executive of Techiman, Hon. Alex Kyeremeh and Baamuhene of Techiman Traditional area, Nana Fosu Gyeabour.
Developed by: COPIO MEDIA TEAM, TECHIMAN BRONG AHAFO, GHANA.