10,000 lose jobs as cashew processing companies fold up

AN estimated 10,000 workers in the cashew industry in the Brong-Ahafo Region, have lost their jobs due to non-availability of cashew nuts to the processing companies in the region.

The region has 11 processing companies but only the Mim Cashew Processing Company is currently in operation. All the others are folding up.

The Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. Ekow Spio-Gabrah, who disclosed these during an interaction with both processors and buyers as well as farmers, said that was the reason behind the ministry banning the exportation of the nuts, to revamp the sector.

He was speaking in a meeting with the cashew industry players in Sunyani as part of a three-day working visit to the region.

Though the ban has been lifted, the minister said consultations at various levels were ongoing to come out with the best decisions, which would stand the test of time.

Mr. Spio-Gabrah explained that the ban on the exportation of the cashew nuts, which attracted uproar among cashew farmers, was in the interest of the country, adding that the cashew industry had the processing capacity of 70,000 metric tons but produces less than that, creating a shortfall.

During an open forum, the participants appealed to the government to give attention to the cashew industry to enable the farmers grow enough cashews to feed the processing companies and for export.

Mr. Adu Osei, a cashew farmer at Sampa, called for the establishment of a cashew board to regulate the sector, adding that the lack of it was making the industry open up for manipulation.

The country needs about 200,000 metric tons of cashew to meet demands locally as well as for export.

From Daniel Dzirasah, Sunyani

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