The Association of Cashew Processors, Ghana (ACPG) has been inaugurated to amongst other things engage government and appropriate authorities in the cashew sector in Ghana to develop the necessary policies and regulatory frameworks that will help increase the competitiveness of Ghana-based cashew processing businesses within Africa and beyond.
The association’s vision include increasing the processing volumes of high quality cashew products from the apple, kernel and shell; Increasing cashew consumption by making cashew nut and apple products the first and healthy snack choice in Ghana and beyond; and the need to continue support from cashew farmers, who through their toil have sustained the growth in cashew production over the years.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Accra, the President of ACPG, Nii Smith, noted that their quest is to convince farmers to see the local processing industry as their first market option by offering local processors a fair and reasonable price of their crops.
Currently, the cashew processing industry in Ghana constitutes 14 cashew nut processors, more than 30 local kernel roasters and about 10 cashew apple processors.
The inauguration ceremony was used to outdoor the general council of the ACPG. The council includes Nii Smith (President), Kojo Acheampong (Secretary), George Sarpong (Treasurer).
The other members of the council are Mathew Porter, Charles Kuma, Joseph Duku and Ohene Djan.
The Processing sector continues to endure the problem of unequal competition from foreign traders and buyers, hence the need for more governmental commitment to support and protect local processing companies and encourage in-country processing.
The cashew industry in Ghana currently consists of 14 processing companies with a total installed capacity of 35,000 tonnes per annum. And only two out of the 14 processors are fully operational, and even operating at less than 40 percent of their installed capacities.
The case for processors
It is worth noting that, the income generation opportunities for Ghana through processing can be increased considerably. It is estimated that if all Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) produced in Ghana is processed in Ghana, cashew kernels worth $148 million USD (2016 average) are processed locally in incomes and revenues.
The comparative value of RCN export is only a little above $48.8 million USD in taxes
Adding value means further processing the raw materials – cashew apples, nuts and shells – into consumable and non-consumable products for the domestic and international markets.
Adding value also means creating all year round jobs and generating incomes for people in the rural areas of Ghana, and especially for women who make up the majority of workers in the factories. Higher incomes for men and women employed in the cashew processing sector also result in higher purchasing power as well as higher taxes for the Government.
The export of the final products also increases foreign exchange earnings for the Government to be able to implement her targeted projects.
The multiplying effect of a flourishing cashew processing industry on the economic growth and social development of the country cannot be underestimated and has remarkable potential to transform Ghana’s economy.
According to Nii Smith, the ACPG has developed a 5-year strategic plan to revamp small and medium-sized cashew processing businesses in Ghana to tap into the socio-economic potential of cashew.
Until 2023, ACPG plans to increase processing volumes of Ghanaian raw cashew nuts from 7,000 MT to 50,000 MT and to maximize the use of installed processing capacities from currently 10% to 75%. As a result, local processors will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the cashew sector, with an accumulated wage of GHC 30 Million per annum, especially for women in rural areas.
“From internally generated funds of the ACPG as well as through strategic relationships with the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) and the Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew) the association will provide trainings to our members to achieve these objectives until 2023 by offering: Technical assistance to be able to successfully evaluate and purchase appropriate processing technologies; Business development services to develop business models and advance business strategies to increase efficiency and to reduce processing costs; as well as food safety systems to enable us supply high quality cashew products and; Advocacy to engage in a policy dialogue for the creation and implementation of a policy framework towards private sector development and to inform financial institutions and banks about the potentials, opportunities and risks of investing into the cashew processing industry”, he disclosed.