The Chief Executive of Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Ms. Gifty Kekeli Klenam, has started a monitoring and inspection tour of cashew nursery production sites in the Brong Ahafo Region as efforts to boost the crop’s production gathered momentum.
The goal is to ensure effective implementation of the interventions meant to make the crop a major export product.
Together with key industry players, GEPA has developed a 10-year Cashew Development Plan with the vision to aggressively expand, modernize and transform the sector into a significant foreign exchange earner – create jobs and wealth for the people.
The plan seeks to increase cashew production from 80,000 metric tonnes to 300,000 metric tonnes and raise export earnings from $197 million to $1 billion by 2027.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the plan at Wenchi in the on February 20, this year.
To promote farm expansion and cultivation of new cashew plantations, GEPA has provided about GH¢600,000.00 to the Cashew Industry Association of Ghana (CIAG) to support the production of 400,000 cashew grafted seedlings.
In all, 15 private nursery operators are raising the 400,000 cashew grafted seedlings.
The inspection tour would assist Ms Klenam to acquaint herself with the progress of work on the grafting of the cashew seedlings for distribution to farmers and potential investors interested in cashew plantations.
GEPA funded nursery sites are spatially distributed with Wenchi having eight nursery operators, Sunyani, Kintampo, Techiman, Drobo and Sogakope all having one operator each while Jema has two operators.
Cashew is currently Ghana’s leading agricultural non-traditional export, bringing in about $197 million revenue in 2016, which represented 53 percent of the $371million received from the total agricultural non-traditional export sub-sector.
GEPA has selected cashew as a priority export product for development and promotion and is collaborating with the CIAG and other stakeholders to achieve the set goals.
The development of cashew comes with many benefits for the individual, the country and the environment – employment and wealth creation, especially for women in nursery operations and cashew processing, foreign exchange and reduction of desertification.