The Association of Cashew Processors Ghana (ACPG) has set a five-year strategic plan to revamp small and medium-sized cashew processing businesses in Ghana to tap into the socio-economic potential of the crop.
As plan of that strategic plan, ACPG hopes to increase processing volumes of Ghanaian raw cashew nuts from 12,000 metric tonnes to 80,000 metric tonnes by 2023. The plan also focuses on maximising the use of installed processing capacities from 10 percent to 75 per cent. This will lead to the creation of more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the cashew sector, with an accumulated wage of GH c 30 million per annum, especially for women in rural areas.
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President of the ACPG, Mr Ed-Malvin Nii Smith disclosed this when USIBRAS Ghana Limited,, a Brazilian owned Cashew processing company handed over 18 high-capacity shelling machine to the association.
The equipment, each worth $7,000, is to be distributed to six out of the 12 local cashew factories that are currently not functioning due to lack of equipment. The equipment has the capacity to processed 200kilos of nuts per hour compared to the manual processing methods used by the local cashew processors.
The handing over of the equipment by USIBRAS Ghana Limited follows a series of trainings and technical support facilitated by the African Cashew Alliance, the GIZ Competitive Cashew Initiative with financial support from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affiars (SECO) under its Ghana Private Sector Competitiveness Programme to build capacity, as well as provide market linkage to strengthen the sector.
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State of the industry
Cashew Production is Ghana is increasing. More than 75,000 farmers cultivate the crop in eight out of ten regions. However, value addition remains insufficient. With an installed processing capacity of 65,000 Metric Tonnes, Ghanaian processors could process almost the total production volume of the country but in reality, less than ten percent of the raw nuts produced in Ghana are processed locally. This is due to the fact that only two out of the 13 processing companies are functional.
As part of the measures to revamp and transform the cashew processing industry, USIBRAS Ghana Limited donated the equipment to the ACPG.
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Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the president of the ACPG, Nii Smith called on government to speed up the setting up of the Tree and Industrial Crop Authority which is aimed at establishing the necessary framework for the management of the cashew.
“We are well informed that government is setting up the Tree and Industrial Crop Authority aimed at establishing the necessary framework for the management of the Cashew industry but we will take this opportunity to urge Government to speed up these interventions to complement the efforts of the private sector and her desire to see Ghana mentioned in the corridors of leading cashew processing countries”
He said Ghana is the only country in the cashew producing countries in Africa yet to set up an Authority to see the proper management of the cashew industry.
Nii Smith also urged stakeholders and government to emulate USIBRAS’ support to the ailing cashew industry.
“As we ask for support from all these stakeholders, I will equally urge all the beneficiaries of these machines to support each other strongly by sharing lessons learnt in order to increase processing efficiencies so as to reduce their processing cost and become competitive on the kernel market”
The Director of USIBRAS Ghana Limited Patricio Lima Asis, called for closer collaborations of all players in the cashew industry in order to grow the sector. He said Ghana with such enormous potential cannot have only two cashew processing companies the gesture by his company to strengthen the local processors and enhance value addition to ensure overall economic feasibility of their business.
The Managing Director for African Cashew Alliance, Ernest Mintah urged the beneficiaries to maximise the opportunity offered them to revive their factories, and follow a strict maintenance plan in order to become profitable.
The Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy, Ms Verena Wiesner said the handing over o of the of the equipment by USIBRAS to the ACPG comes at time when Ghana, Germany and Brazil are putting together resources under a unique trilateral cooperation on improved cashew planting material development and by-product technologies.
She noted that cashew was an essential commodity for the development of the Ghanaian economy and recent announcements and commitment shown by the government of Ghana towards its development attests to this. This commitment, she said is shared by the German government.