Donkorkrom (E/R), Jan 18, GNA - An international non-governmental organisation (NGO), Ricerca e Cooperazione(R&C) is cultivating a 1,000-acre cashew plantation in the Afram Plains. The four-year project that started last year is expected to include the rehabilitation of an earlier 1,000-acre similar plantation that the NGO helped farmers in the district to cultivate from 1993 to 1997.
Mr Mohammed Ibrahim Adokor, the Programme Officer of R&C at Donkorkrom, told the GNA in an interview that the project, which formed part of an environmental management and integrated rural development project, was aimed at improving the living conditions of 20,000 farmers in the Afram Plains by the end of the project period in 2008. Mr Adokor said the project that the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is financing was aimed at not only helping the cashew farmers to market their produce but also to add value to the nuts by processing the fruits into beverages and nuts.
He said the project had a component for the training of the farmers in the processing, preservation, packaging and marketing of their produce to help them increase their income. Mr Adokor said the project would also establish a revolving fund to help groups and individuals to acquire machinery and equipment for the processing of the produce.
He said at the end of the project period the Department of Community Development, the main collaborator of the project, would manage the project funds.
''There is market for the cashew products on the international market but the problem is the low capacity of the cashew farmers and their inability to meet the international orders.''