Star Ghana Foundation supports Cashew Ghana to empower farmers

Cashew
Cashew

Cashew Watch Ghana, a civil society organization has secured a GH¢348,561.00 grant from the Star Ghana Foundation to build and enhance the capacities of cashew farmers in the Bono Region.

This will enable the farmers to effectively participate in policy, cashew sector formulation, and implementation.

Under its project titled, “Amplifying the Voices of Cashew Farmers (AVCF),” the organisation, would mobilise and strengthen cashew farmer cooperatives and increase their participation and inclusion in policy planning, implementation and monitoring in the nation’s cashew sector.

The 14-month project also seeks to empower about 1,500 cashew farmers to effectively engage government and stakeholders to influence policy direction in the sector.

Mr Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the National Convener of Cashew Watch Ghana, disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Sunyani on Wednesday.

He said “the project will also make a case for cashew to be prioritised in the Election 2024, by ensuring that political parties have a clear-cut policy for the cashew industry sector in their political party manifestoes”.

The project implementing areas include Tain and Jaman North Districts, as well as the Jaman South municipality of the region.

Mr Ahenu noted that the cashew sector was increasingly becoming one of the most important agricultural sectors in Ghana, contributing significantly to national economic growth and fetching more jobs for the youth to reduce their poverty levels.

The sector provided direct and indirect jobs for more than 800,000 people spread across the cashew supply chain, and these include farmers, factory workers, buyers, processors, and exporters, Mr Ahenu added.

The sector had an estimated annual production of between 110,000 and 130,000 tons of raw cashew nuts, with about 85 percent for export.

Mr. Ahenu indicated that cashew had for the past five years remained one of the topmost non-traditional export commodities in the country, saying statistics from the Bank of Ghana, showed the country earned US$128.70 million from its exports in the first quarter of 2021.

“Even though there have been several actor associations such as the Ghana Cashew Traders and Exporters Association, farmer associations and the Association of Cashew Processors Ghana (ACPG), the sector still lacks proper organisation and adequate supply chain linkages, especially among cashew smallholder farmers,” he stated.

He noted that the lack of proper coordination among the various actor associations meant that these associations sometimes pushed the interests of their members and not the sector in its entirety.

This has resulted in illegal activities such as the smuggling of nuts to the neighboring La Cote d’Ivoire, which had also contributed to the price volatility of cashew and resulted in the low level of local processing in Ghana.

Mr. Simon Asore, the Functional Steering Committee Chairman, CWG, stressed the need to mobilise, empower and strengthen cashew farmer associations to partake in decision making processes affecting them.

He said this would greatly help in tackling the challenges facing cashew farmers in a more proactive manner.

Many cashew farmers lacked the capacity, resources, agency, and skills to influence decisions affecting their work and well-being and the project seeks to empower them in that areas, he added.

GNA
The Ghana news Agency (GNA) was established on March 5, 1957, i.e. on the eve of Ghana's independence and charged with the "dissemination of truthful unbiased news". It was the first news agency to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa. GNA was part of a comprehensive communication policy that sought to harness the information arm of the state to build a viable, united and cohesive nation-state. GNA has therefore been operating in the unique role of mobilizing the citizens for nation building, economic and social development, national unity and integration.