Mr Fredric Alipui, a Policy
Advisor at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has called for the establishment
of an Economic Community for West African State (ECOWAS) Cashew Market to make
the crop competitive in the sub-region. He said it was time neighbouring
countries collaborated through intra-continental trade to make use of the
excess cashew produced.
Mr Alipui was addressing the
third edition of the African Cashew Initiative, now Competitive Cashew
Initiative (ComCashew) Master Training Programme in Ho, Volta Region. The
international training programme, with assistance from the German Government,
FairMatch Support and other agencies, attracted participants from 12 African
countries. It was aimed at promoting cashew-value-chain in Africa.
It was on the theme, “Cashew Value Chain Concept; the dynamics of the cashew market and the development of training materials.”
Mr Alipui said the continuous
closure of borders to sister nations was contrary to the motives of AU and
challenged players in the sector to think about cashew in the “regional
He said the AU was working on a
Continental Free Trade Area and urged cashew stakeholders to take advantage of
initiative to create a central market for the crop. Dr. Obafemi Oyewole, the
Managing Director of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), said the call for an
ECOWAS Cashew Market was timely to help create jobs and empower farmers and
He said such a regional market
would enhance intra-regional trade and pledged the readiness of the Alliance to
support and explore opportunities for the establishment of the market. Dr.
Oyewole said the capacity building programme was helping to build a pool of
professionals to improve the cashew-value-chain and meet growing global demand.
Mr Samuel Kofi Larbi, the Volta
Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, described Ghana as
the country with the highest cashew productivity in the sub-region, with more
than 700 kilogrammes yield per hectare. He said the cashew sector was building
on that expertise to expand knowledge and skills to support other cashew
producing African countries.
Mr Larbi said, for instance
Ghana, with support from the Green Innovation Centres, a GIZ project, was
supplying 13,000 scions from high yielding cashew trees to farmers in Togo to
boost their local cashew production.
He said the “Master Training
Programme” was a crucial “next step” in the intense collaborative efforts
towards knowledge and skills sharing among stakeholders in the sector, on the
Mr Seth Osei-Akoto, a Deputy
Director, Cashew Desk, MOFA, said Ghana served as a role model in cashew
research and the development of improved planting materials in the Sub-region.
Madam Helen Adjoa Ntoso, the
Volta Regional Minister, said cashew production contributed significantly to
poverty reduction and underscored the need for the growth of cashew industries
Madam Rita Weidinger, the Executive
Director, ComCashew, said Ghana had shown the way of increasing cashew
production from 7,000 tons in 2003 to 70,000 tons in 2015.
She expressed her optimism that
the training programme would help address the gaps in the industry with a pool
of experts with in-depth knowledge in the cashew value chain.
The one-week training includes
field visits and practical sessions. Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s leading
producer of cashew with 700,000 metric tons a year, 10 times that of Ghana’s
Africa produces 50 per cent of
the world’s cashew with 1.2 million tons annually.
The sector is said to support
about 5.2 million jobs in direct and indirect employment on cashew farms,
seasonal workers and women in cashew processing factories.