The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekow Spio-Garbrah, has swerved Nana Akufo-Addo’s Cashew Nut-based campaign in the Brong Ahafo Region, by temporarily withdrawing the administrative directive against the exportation of raw cashew nut from Ghana.
A statement signed by Dr. Spio-Garbrah disclosed that “…the Ministry is taking steps to ensure that the development of the cashew industry is accomplished through a comprehensive and inclusive process”.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo, knowing that, that is where the crop is mostly grown, quickly rushed to the Region, following the public outcry and parliament’s condemnation of the Trade Ministry’s directive banning the export of cashew nuts from Ghana.
The Ministry, had earlier placed the ban on cashew exports in a bid to improve local processing of the crop, as part of efforts to boost job creation and deepen Ghana’s value addition agenda.
However, in the wake of the public outcry, Nana Addo, stormed the region with the heaviest producers, fraternizing with cashew farmers, promising to revive the agricultural sector should he win the November polls.
“I was in the Jaman North constituency, in the Brong Ahafo Region, on Friday, campaigning ahead of this year’s election,” the presidential hopeful wrote on his Facebook wall.
“I assured the people, who are mainly cashew farmers, that the revival of Ghana’s declining agricultural sector will be a major area of priority under an Akufo-Addo government, God-willing, from January 2017.
“If we are to make any meaningful change in the lives of the people, our efforts must be directed at this sector.http://ghanapoliticsonline.com
“The majority of people can only feel a change in their lives when we develop agriculture,” the three-time flagbearer said before joining the chiefs and people of Suma Ahenkro to celebrate the Akwantu Kese festival.
The NPP, especially its Members of Parliament (MPs) had earlier tried hanging the DKM Saving & Loans saga on the neck of President John Mahama and his wife; Lordina Mahama, instead of blaming the Bank of Ghana (BoG), for its poor supervisory role on the saving and loans business in the country.
Apart from his Facebook wall, the NPP Presidential Candidate for the 2016 general elections, singled out the cashew business with a promise to transform the sector into a major cash crop and foreign exchange earner, should he become President.
He spoke during a courtesy call on the Chiefs and people of Suma Ahenkro, in the Jaman North constituency of the Brong Ahafo Region, as they celebrated the Akwantu Kese festival.
Nana Addo promised, among others, to establish a Cashew Marketing Board to regulate the industry just as it is done for cocoa to give farmers the best prices in order to improve their livelihood, and appealed for the support of the people of Suma Ahenkro ahead of the November elections this year.
“I’ve come to appeal to you to trust and have confidence in me. The change we seek to bring is a change that will affect positively all parts of the country without discrimination. Suma Ahenkro is going to benefit strongly from an Akufo-Addo government. I assure you that I will not disappoint you. The trust you put in me, I will not disappoint you.”
Nana Akufo-Addo, who was the special guest of honour at the Adinkra durbar, the first of its kind which commemorates the Adinkra symbol, was accompanied by national and regional party stalwarts, including the National Women’s Organizer, Otiko Afisa Djaba; former presidential aspirant and former Minister of Trade, Industry and
PSIs, John Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen; and Brong Ahafo Regional Chairman, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh.
Dr. Spio Garbrah assured, the Ministry will widen its consultations with stakeholders in order to ensure that the cashew industry becomes competitive in a broad-based manner that would lead to job creation and the general well-being of all stakeholders.
Among the issues informing the withdrawal Mr. Spio-Garbrah’s statement disclosed include:
• The view that the timing for the implementation of the directive would be best when traders or agents who have purchased RCN for exports would not have challenges with warehousing cost, deterioration in quality and the loss in weight of RCN;
• Acceptance of the view that ideally the directive should have been issued at the beginning of the year to enable farmers, agents and traders plan for the management of the impact;• The challenge of managing the transit through Ghana from Burkina Faso of RCN for export though Ghanaian ports.
Meanwhile, in order to bring some order into the cashew industry in the medium to long term, the Ministry would in consultation with all stakeholders in particular the Cashew Industry Association of Ghana (CIAG), put in place the following measures:
1. Support for the National Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) to enable them purchase the Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) and establish a “Just-in-Time” inventory to ensure that the indigenous processors have an all-year-round supply of RCN.
2. Initiate discussions concerning establishment of a credit scheme for cashew farmers.
3. Assist indigenous processors to purchase the RCN.
4. Examine the merits of the setting up of the Ghana Cashew Management Board to license, supervise and monitor all activities in the cashew value chain.
5. Work with stakeholders to propose and implement a 10-year cashew development plan for Ghana. This would seek to ensure the development and expansion of the cashew industry and also increase the country’s production to at least 200,000MT by the year 2025.