This, the association explained, was to ensure the safety of its workers, as well as ensure the sustained production of cashew in the country.A statement issued by the association and signed by its President, Mr Ed-Malvin Nii Ayibonte Smith, said normal food safety protocols in the cashew processing factory have also been heightened to include the segregation of departments.
It assured the general public that safety measures have even been heightened in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 to ensure that none of the final produce released onto the market was infected.
Subsequently, the various companies still producing are also strictly ensuring that workers continue to observe these protocols as factory owners are constantly increasing the supply of sanitisers, water and soap for frequent hand washing.
“In full compliance to the directives by the President, owners of factories are strictly ensuring that each of the factories in operation has less than 25 people at work at any given time. They are also being made to practise social distancing as much as possible no matter the inconvenience to ensure the safety of all.
One of the other two hope to resume operations by the beginning of April 2020. A roasting unit which supplies nuts to the local market have 10 people at post,” he said..
The statement said cashew processors in Ghana were strictly complying with the various directives announced by the government and it has subsequently segregated its departments in dirty and critical areas.
The dirty areas are the aspect of the processing that involve calibration, steaming, drying and cutting of raw cashew nuts. Workers in this segment observe hand washing with soap on a constant basis as the basic food safety protocol.
The critical segment is made up of the peeling, grading and drying units. These units also normally observe hand washing with soap under running water, as well as applying hand sanitisers. Those in the packaging unit are being made to sanitise their feet in addition to observing all the usual protocols.
It added that as had been the norm over the years, cashew processors in Ghana have always observed strict food safety protocols that include regular washing of hands with soap under running water, as well as use of hand sanitisers to ensure that final produce was not contaminated.
The statement noted that the outbreak of the pandemic had presented challenges to processors in the country and the public would be updated on happenings as and when it improves.
There are no reports of reduction in local demand for the nuts or drop in sales by distributors.