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Business News of Thursday, 13 August 2015

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Ghana lauded for increase in cashew production

Ghana has been lauded by African Cashew Initiative (ACi) for showing the way in cashew production in the sub-region.

On the average, Ghana is said to be producing an estimated 800 kilogrammes of cashew per hectare.

The Executive Director of the organisation, Ms Rita Weidinger, who made the commendation, acknowledged that some districts in the country were cultivating beyond 1000 kilogrammes per hectare, adding that the situation was steadily increasing towards the international benchmark of 1500 kilogrammes per hectare.

She was speaking at the second edition of the international master training programme to promote the African cashew value chain in Sunyani last Tuesday.

Sixty-two participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo are taking part in the five-day training programme.

It is being organised by the ACi together with the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) and supported by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG).

Ms Weidinger said the master training programme was a way of sharing the rich experiences and knowledge acquired by its partners through the various sectors of the cashew value chain.

“We acknowledge the importance of interplay between value chain actors and public-private dialogue,” she said, explaining, “In June this year, the high prices of the raw cashew nuts led to increased farmers’ interest in maintaining and expanding cashew farms, while the young processing industry struggles to become competitive.”

The Deputy Director of CRIG, Dr George Opoku, said the institute began intensive cashew research in 2003 when it was established by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to provide scientific support to the Ghana Cashew Development Project.

He said the priority research areas included development of improved planting materials, appropriate plant production and protection packages for the cultivation of the crop, processing and by-products development to add value to the crop.

The director said through grafting techniques, which had been used to produce desirable seedlings for distribution to farmers, 120,000 seedlings were distributed to farmers at subsidised prices last year and that the programme would continue this year.

The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Justice Samuel Adjei, said in spite of the fact that the region produced cashew and other cash crops on large scale, “it does not have a corresponding number of factories and industrial establishments to be fed with the raw materials”.

The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, said this year a total of 500,000 improved seedlings had been distributed to cashew farmers, an increase of 150,000 over last year’s figure.