Cashew farmers in the Brong Ahafo region have kicked against the recently announced ban on cashew exports by the Trade and Industry Ministry.
Spio-Garbrah said as much as 95% of Ghana’s total production of cashew nuts estimated at 68,000MT is exported in its raw form to overseas for processing.
“This implies that the industry is operating at just 5% of its installed processing capacity of 65,890MT,” according to the directive.
But the acting Chairman of the Cashew Buyers Association in Techiman, Mr Mumuni Issah said tons of cashew nuts are rotting as a result of the directive.
He called for the ban to be lifted so farmers can export the commodity for foreign exchange to pay their investors.
He added that the directive is putting the farmers at the mercy of two processing cashew plants.
“We want government to lift the ban on export of raw cashew nuts to allow us export the commodity to generate revenue to pay back our investors and provide livelihood for our families,” he told Accra based Onua FM.
“The ban on export of cashew is putting farmers at the mercy of the two functioning processing plants who can quote low prices to buy the cashew, but farmers will have no choice since there are no alternatives,” he said.
The minister’s directive has roundly been condemned by Members of Parliament. Majority Leader Alban Bagbin said the minister was acting like ‘Don Quixote’ and that the directive has no legal basis.
The strongest statement on the floor of parliament against the directive came from the Deputy Majority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Banda in the Brong Ahafo region, Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim.
He described the directive as “very weak and illegal,” questioning the basis of the directive.
“Under what law is the Ministry going to confiscate raw cashew nut without due process? " he asked.
Paapa Owusu Ankomah, MP for Sekondi, said the Ministry's directive contradicts the Importers and Exporters Act, section 13 and article 11 (7) of the 1992 constitution.
On his part, MP for Tain, Mr. Kwesi Agyeman Gyan-Tutu said the Ministry of Trade should work with the local farmers to form a cashew marketing board.
The country has 12 cashew processing factories. Out of the 12, only three are in operation.
The three are Mim Cashew, Agricultural Products Ltd and Usibra Limited.