Flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama, has revealed plans to implement a groundbreaking system aimed at growing the local cashew processing industry if he wins the 2024 elections.
Mr. Mahama stressed the importance of agricultural development and suggested changing the current approach of sending raw cashew nuts to India for processing.
He proposed a new system where Ghanaian factories would process and package the cashew nuts bought from Wenchi before exporting them for foreign exchange.
Addressing a gathering in Wenchi on Friday, he noted, “Currently, cashews are harvested and exported to India for processing before distribution to other countries. The Indians profit more from cashews that we have struggled to plant and harvest.”
The NDC flagbearer promised to include the promise in his 2024 manifesto.
“My leadership aims to introduce machinery in the Bono Region dedicated to cashew processing, designed for the efficient processing and packaging of cashews for export. This initiative is to retain any profits from cashews in the country,” he explained amidst chants from the public.
He urged the people of Wenchi to throw their support behind him in the upcoming elections to make the vision a reality.
Reports indicate that Ghana has 14 cashew processing plants , with a total annual capacity of 65,000 metric tonnes of raw cashews.
While 10 of these plants are active, they process less than 10% of total annual cashew production. The remaining processing plants have either ceased operation, or have completely shut down.
There are a number of challenges that hinder the local processing of cashew nuts in Ghana. Key amongst these is a lack of capital to maintain operations, alongside the inability of local processors to access raw cashew nuts from farmers – the latter of which is exacerbated by poor transport infrastructure.