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Making Cashew A Cashcow: Here Is How Cashew Will Yield Ghana $1m In 4 DaysTuesday, August 19, 2014 > 07:52:59
Later this year Ghana will host an event focused on cashew, not about how to consume the fruit – of which there are many delicious ways, but about how to cull cash from cashew. This is made more appetizing by the fact that the four day event on the cash-crop will yield a million dollars for Ghana’s economy.
The Cashew event, African Cashew Alliance’s ‘World Cashew Festival and Expo’, will eventually do more than rain in a million dollars as over 400 delegates from around the world and all levels of the cashew value chain will be expected to flood the West African nation with the primary agenda of striking business deals, sharing knowledge and discussing the future of the cashew industry, exercises that will undoubtedly move up Ghana’s present cashew export revenue of $18 million as well as boost the revenue of other African producers.
Cashew is a high value cash-crop with vast variation of uses and byproducts. The importance of the cashew nuts and the cashew apple ranges from being processed a snack or used in recipes, to been processed into fruit drinks or distilled into liqueur. The shell of the cashew nut yields derivatives that can be used in many applications from lubricants to paints, and other parts of the tree for the making of medicines. This varied uses make it an attractive commodity for exportation, however, fluctuations are increasing regular across world market prices.
India earns more than $200 million a year by exporting 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes of cashew kernels and the country’s trade-links are spread over 40 countries. Cashew is a craze in the United States which is by far the largest buyer. The other major purchasers are Japan, Australia, Canada, HongKong, Singapore and the countries in the Middle East.
Thus, at $18 million of export revenue, Ghana’s cashew industry is relatively small compared to global competitors, ranking low even in Africa. It is below Nigeria (with a 2012 export revenue estimate of $22.27 million), Ivory Coast, Benin Republic and Guinea Bissau. However, cashew processing in Ghana ranks among the most industrialized in Africa with the country now having the capacity to process far more cashews than it harvests.
This lack of industrialization costs Nigeria 50 percent of its annual cashew production, according to the country’s Cashew production association. The National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN) had in February complained that 900,000 tonnes of the 1.8 million tonnes produced in Nigeria ended up wasted because of the dearth of processing infrastructure.
Ghana is saved such losses because of the advancements in its cashew industry, thanks in part to the work of African Cashew Alliance headquartered in Accra. The Alliance has coordinated efforts from companies, non-profits and various government agencies to boost investment in cashew production in Africa.
In 2009 the Alliance helped steer a $25 million grant from the Gates Foundation to Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Mozambique for development of their respective industries. Later that year the ACA received a grant from USAID/West Africa to assist cashew entrepreneurs in the region obtain access to financing. In December 2010, USAID West Africa, the ACA and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Bank of Investment and Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding to open access to long-term financing to processors.
This year’s Festival, set to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre from 11-14 November 2014, was originally planned for Kenya, a plan that didn’t materialise due to what ACA described as operational difficulties.
“We are very much a pan-African organization, so of course we try to move the Festival around the continent as much as possible,” said ACA’s Communications Manager Craig Duncan, explaining the hitherto choice of Kenya. However, with regards to the failed move to Kenya, he adds; “But at the same time, as an organization incorporated and headquartered in Ghana, when in doubt we bring the Festival back home. This is not just because of our strong membership base among the Ghanaian cashew sector – it’s also because we can be certain of a strong international attendance, on account of Ghana’s reputation as being at the forefront of industrialized cashew processing in Africa.”