MD urges government to sign onto Cashew Consultative International Council
By Belinda Ayamgha/Julius K. Satsi, GNA
Accra, March 30, GNA - Mr Ernest Mintah, the Interim Managing Director of the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) has called on government to sign unto the Cashew Consultative International Council (CICC) to help address challenges confronting stakeholders in the Cashew industry.
The CICC is committee of Cashew producing countries that facilitates and regulates activities in these countries with the aim of harmonising efforts of all stakeholders in the value chain of Cashew nuts.
Mr Mintah who made the call during a Stakeholder Visioning Forum in Accra on Wednesday aimed at formulating a vision for the sector until 2027 said the government of La Cote d'Iviore had taken the initiative to lead the setting up and signing of the CICC.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sideline of the forum, Mr Mintah said current statistics showed that of the 17 countries currently producing Cashew nuts, only six had signed unto the Council.
'We have Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, La Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Nigeria and Tanzania, signing on to the Council's agreement and who contribute 80 per cent of the cashew in Africa. These are countries that are really significant and once Ghana can join, we will be able to transform the sector,' he stated.
Mr Mintah said aside the creation of the CICC; individual governments of Cashew producing countries had embarked on some policy reforms to enhance the fortunes of actors in the sector and to increase production of the crop.
'Notably among the governments is Ghana, which has inter-ministerial committee, including ACA to review and recommend short to long term measures for the sector,' Mr Mintah noted.
He said efforts around the cashew crop in Africa included; the creation of cashew inter-profession in almost all the cashew countries, accompanied by all the establishment of cashew processor associations to address issues in the value-added segment of the value chain.
Mr Seth Osei Akoto, the Director of Crop Science at the Ministry of Agriculture, who represented the Minister of Agriculture, said it was important to increase production although there was nothing wrong with Ghana importing cashew to feed its domestic market.
Mr Akoto, however, said, it was relevant for the country 'to plan and do more so that we can also have raw materials to feed the processing factories that are collapsing in the country,' adding, there was the need to expand the production base so that the volume for production could be increased.
He said the country had a comparative advantage in the production of cashew nut but the challenge was lack of adequate resources in the sector.
Mr Akoto said the ministry would consider signing onto the CICC to ensure the harmonisation of the activities in the cashew industry.
Participants at the forum said they were optimistic that the forum would draw a vision for the cashew industry in Africa to enhance the operation of actors in the value chain.