The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has asked the government to consider banning the export of Raw Cashew Nuts (RCNs) to ensure that the cashew nuts are readily available for local factories to process and to increase the amount earned from the product.
In the strategy document that details the potential, limitations and policy proposals on the cashew industry, the authority said the country needs to prioritise domestic processing of the nuts over raw exports, given the impact on revenues, job creation and the development of a full value chain on cashew. It explained that a study conducted by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture revealed that of every 100 metric tonnes of RCNs that were exported, the economy lost about 30 jobs at the processing level and about $60,800 in income that could have gone to workers in the factories.
GEPA said the current situation where the country exports almost all its RCNs undermines its agenda to add value to exports and to create a robust industry that supports economic growth and development. Beyond an outright ban, GEPA hinted that the government can also consider protecting the sale of RCNs by offering incentives to those that sold to the local processors.
“Export tariffs for RCNs can be increased to discourage the export of RCNs without value addition,” it said
In Ghana, local processors fall into three main categories. Primary processors are RCNs processors who convert the cashew nuts into cashew kernels and are involved in the purchasing of RCNs, sorting, steaming, cracking, peeling, drying, grading and packaging bulk for export or for sale on the local market. The secondary processors are those who add further value to raw kernels through roasting, salting or flavouring, packaging and labelling for the local market and for export. The tertiary processor are cashew by-product processors who add value through the purchasing and processing of cashew apples.
Meanwhile, the Cashew Industry Association of Ghana has drawn up a 10-year cashew development plan that seeks to, among other things, embark on a rapid planting and mass spraying programme to ensure that by 2029, Ghana reaches an annual local cashew harvest of at least 500,000 metric tonnes.
In support of the 10-Point Agenda for Industrial Transformation, which seek to transform the structure of the economy from a raw commodity export-based one to a manufacturing industrial export-driven economy, GEPA formulated a strategy document which seeks to build synergies with government’s flagship programmes, such as 1 District 1 Factory, Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, District Industrialization for Jobs and Wealth Creation, etc. to ensure that products emanating from companies operating under these programmes are competitive and marketable in the local and foreign markets.
GEPA’s strategy presents more opportunities to build capacity of industry players to enable them to take advantage of the African market through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
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