Cashew farmers urged to produce quality nuts

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Cashew farmers have been urged to produce quality nuts to fetch them good prices.

Mr Dwobeng Nyantakyi, the Value Chain Officer at the Wenchi Zonal Office of the Tree Crop and Development Authority (TCDA), gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a media engagement held at Abesim near Sunyani.

He urged the cashew farmers to adopt good farm practices such as pruning, weeding and turning and also dried the nuts well to get the required moisture content.

Cashew Watch Ghana (CWG), a Sunyani-based civil society organisation working to remove the bottlenecks and improve socio-economic livelihoods of cashew farmers, organised the engagement, also attended by cashew farmers.

It was in line with a Star Ghana Foundation-funded project, titled “amplifying the voices of Cashew farmers in Ghana” being implemented in the Jaman North and Tain Districts as well as the Jaman South Municipality of the Bono Region.

Mr Nyantakyi indicated that the government through the TCDA was committed to ensure that cashew farmers receive good prices for their products.

However, the farmers also ought to ensure they produced quality nuts.

He said the Authority had registered 1,600 aggregators, traders and importers nationwide, explaining that the aggregators were those who bought the nuts from the farmers at the farm gates and subsequently sold them to the traders and to the exporters.

Mr Nyantakyi advised the farmers to ensure that they sold their products to the registered aggregators, saying it was a serious offence punishable by law under the TCDA Act 1010 and the LI 2471 for anybody to aid unregistered people to buy cashew in the country.

He reminded them that buying and selling of cashew nuts and fruits remained a preserve of  Ghanaians and warned foreign nationals to stay away from the business or be prosecuted.

Mr Raphael Ahenu, the National Coordinator, CWG, said the cashew sector had huge economic potential to widen the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.

There is therefore the need for the government to understand, appreciate the prospects and invest in the sector.

Mr Ahenu said he was worried that national cocoa production, being the backbone of the economy, was fast declining due to uncontrolled illegal mining and other unscrupulous human activities.

The cashew industry could hold forth if the government shows commitment and prioritizes the sector, he stated.

Mr Ahenu called for a fair pricing regime and price control for cashew farmers to derive optimum benefit from their farm work.

By Dennis Peprah, GNA

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