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Politics of Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Source: Daniel Acheampong

Nana Addo should stop deceiving cashew farmers - Asiedu Nketiah

General Secretary of NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah has criticized Nana Addo for making unrealistic promises to farmers in his quest to become president.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Presidential Candidate for the 2016 general elections has pledged to transform the cashew sector into a major cash crop and foreign exchange earner, should he become President.

He was speaking during a courtesy call on the Chiefs and people of Suma Ahenkro, in the Jaman North constituency of the Brong Ahafo Region, as they climaxed the Akwantu Kese festival.

But the NDC chief scribe is particularly alarmed because as he put it, the NPP flagbearer is merely seeking to exploit recent developments in the sector.
On March 14, Trade Minister Dr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah, issued a directive in Accra banning the export of cashew nuts.

Cashew farmers were unhappy with the temporary ban. Some MPs back the farmers who are challenging the legality of the Ministry’s directive which in their opinion can affect projected profits because the local processing companies fix low prices.

But following public outcry, the ban has been lifted. The Ministry says it will ensure that the cashew industry becomes competitive and create more jobs.

A statement signed by Dr. Spio-Garbrah said despite “withdrawing the directive,” his outfit “is taking steps to ensure that the development of the cashew industry is accomplished through a comprehensive and inclusive process.”

Nana Addo who the NDC believes is trying to exploit the situation, promised, among others, to establish a Cashew Marketing Board to regulate the industry just as it is done for cocoa to give farmers the best prices in order to improve their livelihood.

General Asiedu Nketiah told the host of Accra-based Okay FM’s flagship morning show that Nana Addo’s promise is not only false but also unrealistic.

“It is a trite knowledge that any time a Marketing Board such as the one Nana Addo promises to set up can’t have control over the world market price of the commodity... And that, his (Nana Akufo Addo’s) so called board may end up depending on revenue accrued from sales.

Asiedu Nketiah said electorates are now wiser and discerning, something Nana Akufo Addo and his NPP colleagues should know by now, to inform the kind of promises they make.

As much as 95% of Ghana’s total production of cashew nuts estimated at 68,000MT is exported in its raw form.

“This implies that the industry is operating at just 5% of its installed processing capacity of 65,890MT,” according to The Trade Ministry. This is what has informed the trade ministry’s decision is to ensure the availability of raw materials for the local market.

The country has 12 cashew processing factories. Out of the 12, only three are in operation.
The three are Mim Cashew, Agricultural Products Ltd and Usibra Limited.

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