Government has officially launched a GH.C 1.6m Cashew mass spraying exercise as part of measures to boost the cashew production to create more jobs and increase the income levels of cashew farmers.
The exercise further aims at supporting existing farms improvement through clearing, spraying and pruning; and set the roadmap for farm expansion and the establishment of new farms for increased production.
The Cashew mass spraying exercise, the first of its kind, is expected to increase production by about 30% and will initially target over 10,000 acres of cashew farms this year and over 70,000 acres annually beginning from 2018.
According to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), cashew is currently Ghana’s leading agricultural Non-Traditional Export (NTE), bringing in about $197 million worth of export revenue in 2016, representing 53% of $371 received from the total agricultural NTE sub-sector.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Gifty Klenam, who launched the cashew mass spraying exercise at Wenchi in the Brong Ahafo Region, said the move reinforces the NPP government’s “commitment of developing the cashew industry to promote sustainable growth, and increase the country’s foreign exchange earnings.”
Madam Klenam announced plans to soon set up a Cashew Development Fund and a Cashew Development Board, which would put in place a regulatory framework to make cashew the next cocoa Ghana as part of the 10-year National Cashew Development Plan to revitalize the whole value chain from research, primary production, processing and value addition to trading and marketing.
She said the implementation of the 10-year National Cashew Development Plan (2017-2027) will support research and development to improve inputs and technology from the farm to export, produce over 2,000 000 grafted seedlings annually, expand production of raw cashew nuts (RCN) from 70,000MT to 200,000MT, among others.
The Plan, according to her, is also to increase processing capacity from 65,000MT to 200,000MT, promote local consumption of roasted cashew products, support capacity building in the value chain to improve efficiency at all levels, promote the competitiveness of the entire value chain, and create over 200,000 direct and indirect jobs annually.
“The programme is expected to benefit over 100,000 farmers with about 10,000 registered farmers earmarked to benefit from a revolving credit of about GHS 3,000 000. The overall impact of the programme in terms of foreign exchange revenue is expected to be USD4.6 billion.”
“All of these initiatives are in line with the President’s Ghana beyond aid agenda to transform the Ghanaian economy, industrialize our agriculture, process more of what we produce and improve our exports to wean ourselves from foreign aid”, she added.