The ministry of Trade and
Industry is working to address liquidity challenges facing local cashew
processing companies to ensure prompt payment to cashew farmers.
The sector minister, Mr Ekwow
Spio Garbrah, who said this, noted that there was the need to adequately
address liquidity challenges that had plagued local processors by exploring
avenues for credit facilities to enable them to pay farmers on time for the
supply of cashew.
“We are considering many options,
including the establishment of a Cashew Development Board, to serve as a
regulatory agency for cashew production and export in the country,” Mr Garbrah
He indicated that the creation of
a board or council would also ensure the availability of buffer stock at all
times for local processors.
Mr Garbrah said this at a meeting
with members of the ECOWAS Community Development Programme (ECOWAS CDP) Media
Network in Accra last week.
The CDP Media Network, under the
ECOWAS Vision 2020 project, is aimed at educating citizens across the region on
the sub-regional integration policies and programmes.
According to the minister, if the
ban on exportation of cashew was enforced in the future, there would be a
minimum guaranteed price at which farmers could sell their produce to avoid
“The advantage of having a
development council or board in place would ensure that should a ban on the
exportation of the commodity come into existence, domestic processors would
always have money to pay farmers,” Mr Garbrah said.
The ministry’s administrative ban
on the exportation of the commodity on March 14, 2016, on what officials said
was an attempt to protect the local processing sector, was lifted after
producers and Members of Parliament (MPs) opposed the move.
The minister, however, admitted
that the ministry erred by announcing the ban when the relevant stakeholders
were not involved in the consultative processes on the need to place a
moratorium on the exportation of the commodity.
According to him, building blocks
on credit facility, timeliness of payment by processors to farmers among other
pertinent measures were not in place when the ban was announced.
“We were dealing with the
leadership of the cashew industry and with all due respect, we didn’t deal with
the people on the ground who are the most affected. We should have held durbars
with farmers and even conduct demonstrations at the farm levels, which we
failed to do prior to the announcement of the ban,” Mr Garbrah said.
“We are learning our lessons and
we are ready to make progress, and I am certain the ban will definitely come to
pass in the next three years, whether under my tenure as minister or whoever
would succeed me”, he added.
Mr Garbrah hinted that although
the policy to ban was a good one which aimed to support the growth of the local
processing sector, “If we take a decision and certain groups feel enough public
education was not done, we cannot enforce it when we have not officially
sensitised the beneficiaries.”
The minister was of the view that
the 13 processing companies in the country have the needed capacity to produce
some 70,000 metric tons of cashew although the country’s production capacity
presently stood at 60,000 metric tons annually.