Cashew farmers decry low prices for product

Cashew farmers in Bono and Bono East Regions have expressed displeasure about what they described as “manipulation of cashew price” by buyers to the detriment of producers.

According to the farmers, the act of market manipulation has resulted in the price of raw cashew nuts (RCN) reducing drastically from GH¢800 per 100kg bag to GH¢200.

The farmers have attributed the situation to the absence of a regulatory body, thus creating a vacuum for buyers who are mostly foreigners to shortchange ‘helpless farmers’.

Interacting with journalists at Seikwa in the Tain District of Bono Region, Solomon Ameyaw, Secretary of Tain Cashew Union, said the buyers had been hiding behind flimsy reasons such as high moisture content and low RCN grade to ‘cheat’ farmers.

“At the beginning of the buying season, the buyers raised concern about the moisture content of our nuts of which farmers agreed to dry before trading off. Notwithstanding that, buyers have still failed to buy at reasonable price,” he stated.

The Secretary lamented that farmers were seriously losing their investments saying, “Besides the huge cost of agrochemicals and farm maintenance, farmers have to pay about GH¢100 as cost of picking every 100kg bag of RCN at the farm.”

Mr Ameyaw blamed the delay in the establishment of the ‘Tree Crops Development Authority’ as a major factor hampering the development of the cashew subsector, and urged the government to expedite action on that.

The proposed Tree Crops Development Authority by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture is supposed to promote the production and marketing of crops such as cashew, mango, oil palm, rubber and coffee.

He also called on the government to follow through the implementation of the ten-year cashew development plan, indicating that “very little has been happening with operationalisation of the cashew blueprint, especially with grafting of seedlings and distribution”.

On his part, Enoch Tano, a farmer appealed to the government to help revive defunct cashew processing companies in the country in order to discourage excessive exportation of RCN.

This, he noted, would neutralise the monopolistic pricing trade by the exporters and create a competitive cashew environment so as to create more jobs.

FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, SEIKWA

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