Government must support the cashew industry to increase the country’s production
According to him, climate change should make government have a second thought not to rely solely on cocoa production, as it would not be able to thrive in increased temperatures.
It is therefore important for Ghana and Africa, to look at alternative crops that would be better able to thrive in the environment that will result from increasing effects of climate change such as cashews and start creating awareness, he added.
He spoke at a Cashew Stakeholders’ Forum organised by the African Cashew Alliance and hosted by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Mr Dahiya said the cashew sector held tremendous potential for foreign exchange earnings, as well as job creation for Africa through value addition.
Ghana’s cashew industry has great demand for raw materials but production is not high enough to meet the growing local and external demand. It is currently below 60,000 tonnes per annum.
“It is certainly a matter of prioritisation, in terms of what comes first.”
He also expressed that although production needed to be increased, value addition was the way to go as export of value added products would earn the country more income than export of raw materials.
“Out of the 12 cashew processing factories that were installed in Ghana currently, only two were functioning due to the difficult business environment in the country”.
“Only the international ones with cheap financing from outside are able to operate to full capacity but the locals are really struggling to continue and if they continue they will make losses so they have decided to put it on hold till the environment improves.” he noted
On utility and production cost, he stated that there is the need for reasonably priced utilities like electricity, prioritised access to the raw materials by processors and trained personnel for the factories.
“There is no one solution, there is a parallel solution to get the ultimate solution. Government first have to start providing attention to the sector, with true political will. The also increase production and find ways of improving value addition”.