The Competitive Cashew initiative (GIZ/ComCashew), in collaboration with the Ghana Skills Development Initiative (GSDI/ATVET) with support from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has held a technical skills upgrading programme for training providers to reinforce their knowledge and capacities in cashew at Sunyani in the Bono Region.
The programme is aimed at ensuring that tutors from agriculture training institutes effectively train the beneficiaries of the ATVET training programmes and it is based on the learning materials and curriculum which were developed for the value chain.
The Bono Regional Minister, Evelyn Ama Kumi Richardson in a speech read on her behalf noted that her region has benefited so much from the Government’s Planting for Export and Development as the highest cashew producers in the country. She expressed excitement over the passage of the Tree Crop Development Authority Bill into law which she believes could have positive impact on the wellbeing of farmers and processors.
Mrs. Kumi Richardson reveals the region’s readiness to lead in processing as in its production. The Minister urged GIZ as well as the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to encourage more local processing companies as Mim Cashew and Cee Cash companies are doing well in that regard.
She also charged participants make the most out the opportunity and acquire knowledge and exchange ideas.
Finance and Administration Manager at ComCashew, Madam Juliana Ofori Karikari, indicated that the GIZ/ComCashew project is focused on building strong ownership and high-performing cashew sector in the project countries namely; Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivore, Mozambique and Sierra Leone and to increase the competitiveness of African cashew production and processing.
Mrs. Ofori Karikari said her outfit work together with the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture by providing capacity development through their technical persons and also provide some funding to help boost the sector. About 71people were trained in the ongoing programme. She commended the Government for seeing to the passage of the Tree Crop Development Authority Bill into Act and the commitment to ensuring the establishment of the Authority.
Mrs. Ofori Karikari pledged her outfit’s support in helping to realize the dream of an organized sector in Ghana.
The Director of Crop Services, Mr. Seth Osei Akoto who represented the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture told the media that the Tree Crop Development Authority Act (Act 1010) has come to protect and to help solve challenges bothering not only cashew but mango, oil palm, coconut, shea and rubber.
He added that the Government, under Planting for Export and Rural Development is supporting the development and distribution of about five million improved seedlings to farmers this year. According to him, it is of crucial importance for the country to develop sustainable strategies for mitigation due to increasing challenges of climate change.
Mr. Osei Akoto indicated that about 98 districts in Ghana especially in the forest, transitional and savannah zones that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and have been identified as suitable for future cashew cultivation to offer the necessary mitigation on climate change. He reiterated Government’s preparedness to support the growth and development of the sub-sector and to ensure that the country reaps maximum benefits from the cashew value chain activities.
Touching on cashew pricing, Mr. Osei Akoto explained that other external factors come to play. He revealed that Ghanaian farmers have the best price as compared to the highest producing country, Cote d’Ivore hence the Government cannot increase the price without considering all those external factors.
Mr. Dogbey Leonard, team leader, Ghana Skills Development Initiative on the other hand called on all stakeholders to contribute to quality and standard skills development since agriculture has the potential of reducing unemployment in the country.
He also appealed to participants to take every session of the training serious to acquire every technical skills in cashew value chain to enable them meet the standards of the cashew industry.