authorities’ ban on exports of raw cashew nuts through Ivorien borders is
expected to impact the business of processing companies in the country. According
to cashew processors in Ghana, restricting exports through the sea ports alone
will affect the cost of their operations and also push up the price of their
processed cashew for the local and exports markets.
acting President of the Cashew Industry Association of Ghana, Mr Winfred Osei
Owusu, told the Daily Graphic that the processors had their factories
strategically pitched in major producing towns in the Brong Ahafo Region.
did this because of the proximity to supply sources of the raw cashew nuts, as
well as the import through the borders of Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso to
supplement the quantity of the crop produced in Ghana; and so if we have to
import through the sea ports, our cost will go up because we will have to
transport the nuts all the way from the Takoradi and Tema ports to the Brong
Ahafo Region at an extra cost,” he said.
Owusu was of the view that should that happen, the finished products from Ghana
would become more expensive on the local and international market, thereby
making them uncompetitive.
Ban on imports
this month, the government of Cote d’Ivoire announced a ban on export of raw
cashew nuts (RCN) and cotton through its border posts. The ban had already been
announced in 2012. However, some cashew processing companies in Ghana were
given some concessions to import through the borders. The Ivorian government
had through the announcement stated its resolve to carry on with the ban
without any privileges, of which Ghana would be affected. According to the
association, the notice of the ban cited by GCIA indicated that imports could
only be done either through the sea ports of Abidjan and San Pedro.
Ghana as a hub
Owusu said Ghana was fast becoming a hub for cashew processing in West Africa,
as large processing firms had been set up in the Brong Ahafo Region and other
companies had plans of setting up their processing plants in the region.
there are over twelve (12) large and small-scale processing companies in the
country, with over 27,000mt processing capacity. Early next year, the largest
processor in Brazil will open its 35,000mt plant, bringing the total processing
capacity to more than 60,000mt. That means installed processing capacity would
exceed the current production levels of RCN in Ghana, which stood between
40,000mt to 50,000mt, according to MoFA. Ghana also exports an average of
150,000mt of RCN annually.
cashew industry in Ghana, thus, relies heavily on RCN imports from Cote
d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo to supplement its processing and export
volumes, with Cote d’Ivoire being the largest import source. He said the
investors were capitalising on a number of factors to choose Ghana as a hub,
chief among them being the relative stability and conducive business environment, as well as the enormous potential
for the crop production in the country.
are the attributes, and we need not do anything that will get them to lose
interest in the country,” he said. Exporters to India and other parts of the
world also trade intensively through Ghana’s port every year. Ghana also serves
as the headquarters of the African Cashew Alliance; an association of African
and international businesses with an interest in promoting a globally
competitive African cashew industry with nearly 200 member companies
representing all aspects of the cashew value chain, including producers,
processors, traders, and international buyers.
the African Cashew Initiative (ACI), a German International Cooperation-(GIZ)
led cashew project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the
German government in five African countries including Ghana, is headquartered
Owusu said the immediate intervention was for the government to urgently
release the stimulus package for the players in the sector to up production
capacity from current 50,000mt to about 200,000mt in the next 5 to 10 years.
this is done, we will not have to depend so much on other countries to beef up
the quantities required by the processors and traders in the country.”
he said the association intended to engage the government to intervene on its
behalf by opening dialogue with the Ivorian government on establishing some
cross border trading modalities that would benefit both countries, instead of
implementing the outright ban of cross border trade of RCN.
recognise the trade ministry's recent activism and support for the industry,
especially at the level of the minister. I believe that given the minster's
commitment, the association can work with him and the ministry to weather the
storm and create a strong income-generating and rural-transformational
industry," says Mr Owusu.
the association has called on the government to urgently release the stimulus
package announced for players in the sector to enable them to produce the crop
in larger quantities for local consumption and export.