The Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew) intends to strengthen the Ghanaian cashew industry to make it internationally more competitive, Ms Rita Weidinger, the Executive Director of GIZ/ComCashew, has said.
Speaking in an interview with Ghana News Agency on the sideline of the Second Session of the Eighth Edition of the GIZ/ComCashew Master Training Programme (MTP) on cashew value chain promotion recently in Sunyani, she said there has been a lot of innovation on the production side of the commodity.
This, Ms Weidinger said, was because a decade ago, the elderly were those engaging in the cashew farming but the trend is currently reducing.
As a result, she said, “more youth are now thinking about cashew and especially they are going into innovative practices in the production and other aspects of agriculture” such as mechanization of farming and other useful agricultural practices like pruning which is a positive direction for the progress of the cashew industry.
Ms Weidinger said majority of the participants of the MTPs have been youth engaged in the cashew sector, adding that “the processing industry is with very young people and this is making a very good impact on their lives and generally for the growth of the sector”.
Organised by ComCashew in partnership with African Cashew Alliance (ACA) with support from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, the MTP “seeks to increase the theoretical knowledge and practical skills of African cashew experts along the value chain and, consequently, to further promote competitiveness of African cashew”.
The programme provided a platform for 93 cashew experts from 10 African countries-Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Zambia to share knowledge, discussed best practices and lessons learnt, and built national and regional networks for future collaboration.
Participants returned to their host institutions and countries to have a multiplier effect on the cashew industry by sharing knowledge and experiences gained from attending that “tailor-made training”, a press release made available to the media indicated.
During the knowledge sharing sessions of theories and their applications, participants learnt “about all aspects of cashew value chain ranging from production and processing of raw cashew nuts, to economics, cashew market dynamics, marketing and financing mechanisms”, the release said.
It said facilitators and technical experts taught, evaluated and re-designed each training session according to participants’ needs, adding that “the first session which was held in Peduase covered the cashew value chain concept, the dynamics of the cashew market and the development of the training materials”.
The programme focused on the development of improved planting material and “Good Agricultural Practices”, the release said, adding that the highlight of it was a visit by the participants and the organisers to the Wenchi Research Station.
All sessions covered cross-cutting issues such as gender, policy development, sector regulations and nutrition value of cashew products, the release concluded.
The ComCashew, as a project constitutes a new type of multi-stakeholder partnership in development cooperation which is mainly being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs with additional support of “private companies and government and donor agencies”.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been commissioned with the management of the regional project with Fairmatch Support as an implementing partner that provides consultation technical issues and facilitate linkages between farmers and processors.