The African Cashew Alliance Hosts a Cashew Sector Sensitization Workshop in Sunyani, Ghana

From the 6-7 May, 2019, the African Cashew Alliance with support from the Business Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC) hosted a cashew sector sensitization workshop at Tyco Hotel in Sunyani, Ghana.

The workshop aimed at sensitizing private sector stakeholders on the recent activities of the Ghanaian government in setting up a Tree Crop Development Authority and the related Bill. The workshop discussed from the private sector’s perspective the entailed regulations of the Bill and its enforcement.

Furthermore, at the workshop research on value chain actors in Ghana’s cashew industry was presented and discussed. This research was commissioned by the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) in line with the goal of strengthening the competitiveness of Ghana’s domestic cashew value-adding export industry. Improved competitiveness is crucial to ensure the sustainability of jobs created positive socio-economic impacts and increased exchange inflows through value-added cashew export products made in Ghana.

This workshop is a part of a series of activities organized by ACA with the support of BUSAC funds. In April 2018, the first workshop, advocacy training, was held under the theme: “Advocacy for Competitiveness in Ghana’s Cashew Industry”. The workshop gathered both public and private stakeholders from the entire cashew value chain with the objective to equip the selected participants with skills and techniques on “Why and How to Advocate”, enabling them to become effective advocates for their sector interests.

Over the last decade, cashew has gradually emerged as an integral part of West and East Africa’s economy. Cashew production in Africa has grown impressively in the past years from 1.2 million tons in 2014 to about 1.9 million tons in 2018. The African cashew industry could benefit immensely by capturing the value of its raw nut production by increasing processing on the continent. For example, by 2014 Ghana had the highest installed processing capacity allowing annually processing of 65 000 MT of raw cashew nuts (RCN)., thus creating over 16,000 full time factory jobs. Yet, of the 14 factories established by 2014, market prices turmoil and lack of access to finances has left only 2 operating today and this under very severe conditions at a very low capacity utilization. ACA has worked tirelessly to facilitate the setup of the Association of Cashew Processors of Ghana (ACPG) soliciting for support from the sustained local processor, USIBRAS, towards revamping local processors. As a result, the Brazilian owned company handed over cashew processing equipment to ACPG.

Compared to processing, cashew production in Ghana on the other hand has continued to grow. There have been substantial yield increases and sustained good quality of RCN through the efforts of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), crop research institutions like the Cocoa Research Institute Ghana (CRIG) and development partners.

Unlike Ghana, through the introduction of effective policies and structures, such as regulatory cashew boards accompanied by credible private sector associations, neighboring countries have experienced significant growth in both cashew production and processing.

Since the new government of Ghana took over seat in office, the cashew sector has been on its agenda, recognizing its potential and the need to improve value addition in the sector as well set up a regulatory body – the Tree Crop Development Authority. The question now poised is, how does the sector assimilate to what is being proposed and to the roles expected from the stakeholders? As the ACA has been actively involved in the creation of the Tree Crop Authority and holds up its role as Africa’s private cashew sector association, it now becomes imperative to have workshops like this recent one in Sunyani to sensitize and inform the industry stakeholders on what lies ahead. Gathering the sector’s feedback and responses from the workshop allows for it to be channeled back to the responsible public bodies.