The government, under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme, is supporting the development and distribution of about five million improved cashew planting seedlings to farmers this year.
The director of Crop Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Seth Osei-Akoto, who announced this, said with a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) adoption rate of 74 per cent and a productivity rate of 1,500 kilogramme per hectare credited to the use of improved planting materials, Ghana is steadily moving towards a more competitive cashew value chain.
Speaking at the opening of Technical Upskilling Development Training Programme on cashew value chain promotion in Sunyani, he said that Ghana’s production of raw cashew nut, as of 2018, was estimated to be 110,000 metric tons. That generated revenue of more than $378million, representing 43 per cent of the total revenue obtained from non-traditional export commodities.
Touching on the aim of the programme, Mr Osei-Akoto said it is to help equip the first batch of 72 participants, out of 135 training providers from the country’s agricultural training institutes, with requisite knowledge on cashew.
“This is to ensure that the right knowledge is passed on to potential trainees that are enrolled in the institutions,” he explained.
The second session of the training has been slated for March for a second group of 63 training providers. The training is expected to provide a knowledge exchange platform for the training providers, while enabling them to build networks for potential future collaborations in the sector.
Upon the completion of the programme, they will be recognised as technical persons with adequate knowledge on cashew to deliver training in the various agric training institutes.
Also, the finance and administration manager of ComCashew, Mrs Juliana Ofori-Karikari, said Africa is the current home of cashew because the continent provides more than 50 per cent of global cashew production.
She added that Ghana has become a place of expertise in cashew throughout West Africa, saying this has been made possible through the efforts of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, supported by public and private stakeholders like GIZ/ComCashew
Mrs Ofori-Karikari said there is high demand throughout the West African sub-region for plants that have higher productivity rates and are climate-smart to achieve the highest possible levels of sustainable production.
Considering Ghana’s current status as a leader in the production of high-yielding cashew clones, “the country is highly positioned to help bridge this production gap,” she added.
The Ghana Skills Development Initiative (GSDI) Team Leader, Leonard Dogbey, said agriculture being the backbone of the country’s economy “has the potential of reducing unemployment in the country, if all stakeholders are involved in skills development in the agriculture sector.”
According to him, the cashew value chain has so many occupations along the various segment of the value chain, which can create unique job opportunities for the unemployed youth.
Mr Dogbey therefore appealed to the participants to take the training seriously to enable them to acquire technical skills in the cashew value chain, to train learners to meet the standards of the cashew industry.