Government has reiterated its commitment to streamlining the cashew industry to make it an economic driving force in the country by establishing a ‘Cashew Development Authority,’ an apex regulatory body to spearhead the agenda.
Mr. Kwaku Asoma Cheremeh, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister who made the statement said the Authority will among others ensure an increase in production, regulate prices and rekindle the processing sector through the revival of distressed cashew processing companies as well as the establishment of new ones with a guaranteed supply of raw cashew nuts to ensure uninterrupted processing cycle.
“Government is poised to transform the cashew industry like cocoa. Farmers will receive agro inputs such as fertilizer and improved seeds. Processors will also enjoy the necessary industrial enabling environment to thrive,” he said.
The cashew sector, especially processors has been battling with many challenges, making the sector unattractive. Of the 13 cashew processing companies in the country with a total installed capacity of about 6,200 metrict tonnes, only three are currently in business with a utilization level of 15,000 mt.
Matters such as inadequate supply of raw nuts and skyrocketing price have forced many processors out of the industry.
The Regional Minister gave the assurance when the Chief of Suma Traditional Council paid him a working visit. The Chiefs used the occasion to officially congratulate him on his appointment and also drew his attention to some pressing issues within the Suma traditional jurisdiction.
The Paramount Chief of Suma, Odeneho Dr. Affram Brempong III appealed to the government to locate the headquarters the proposed Cashew Development Authority in Sunyani. He said “once the Brong Ahafo Region is the hub of cashew, it would not be out of place to station the head office of the Authority in Sunyani. This will facilitate proper decentralized operation of the regulatory body.”
He also called on the government to continue with all ongoing infrastructural projects. He bemoaned abandoning of infrastructural projects like roads as a result of change in government as ‘nuisance’ and such occurrence must not repeat itself.
The Paramount Chief said Suma Traditional Authority has allocated 4-miles square of land for a proposed campus of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) at Suma-Ahenkro, adding “we have already moulded 20,000 blocks for the project and we appeal for government’s support.”
Odeneho Brempong announced that the Traditional Council has also released a 100-acre piece of land for the establishment of a cashew processing factory under the canopy of government’s ‘one district, one factory’ initiative.
In response, Mr. Cheremeh thanked the chiefs for their kind gesture and pledged the government’s commitment to ensure equitable distribution of the national cake. He added that government will ensure the completion of all existing projects as well as initiate more at places where needed.