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  • Spio-Garbrah, Gala tours cashew processing plant

    Apr 13th, 2016

    The Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, Irene Vida Gala and Mr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry, have paid a working visit to USIBRAS cashew processing plant, situated at Prampram in the Greater Accra Region. USIBRAS, a US$35million fully mechanised cashew processing plant with the capacity to process 35,000 metric tonnes of cashew nuts per year, is currently the leading Brazilian private investment in the country’s cashew sector.

    Speaking to B&FT after the Prampram factory tour, Ambassador Gala said Ghana has the potential to increase its cashew production yields and position it to be the country’s leading cash crop for employment generation and wealth creation. “This is a great example of things that we can do together. I think the fact that this is a private sector investment based on the understanding there is potential to do business in Ghana makes me happy.

    “The business of cashew in Ghana is good, and for Brazilian investment to be productive there must be a big game also for the Ghanaians. They have to farm more cashew so the farmers can get money,” Ambassador Gala said. She said the cashew processing company and the rice farming projects are two major Brazilian private sector investments that are operating in the country, and assured they will be ready to engage Ghana in technical cooperation.

    She explained that the two Brazilian investments in the country’s economy show the potential of cooperation between Brazil and Ghana. Mr. Spio-Garbrah assured that government will do everything to ensure the cashew processing companies’ survival; adding that stakeholders’ collaboration will include providing credit schemes to growers and processors, and creating buffer stock that will be used to ensure a constant supply of the commodity to processors.

    Mr. Spio-Garbrah disclosed that discussions will also be held with Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo and other cashew producing companies to ensure regular supply of raw materials. Mr. Tarciso Falcao, Chief Executive Officer, said Cote D ‘Ivoire -- which is the commodity’s highest producer in the sub-region with 700,000 tonnes -- had stopped supplying the company with the nuts following that country’s ban on exporting the commodity, He said the company, with 541 workers, could increase the number if it receives an adequate supply of cashew. The country’s raw cashew total production is around 7,000 tonnes, which is one-10th the production level of Cote d’Ivoire. He however remained resolute that he will continue working hard to ensure his outfit receives adequate supplies to sustain the processing plant in Ghana. “If it finally becomes very difficult to acquire more raw materials we would not mind importing from Brazil, although it will be much more expensive,” he said.