The government under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme is supporting the development and distribution of about five million improved cashew planting seedlings to farmers this year.
Mr. Seth Osei-Akoto, the Director of Crop Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), who announced this said "with a GAP adoption rate of 74 per cent and a productivity rate of 1,500 kilogramme per hectare credited to the use of improved planting materials, Ghana is steadily moving towards a more competitive cashew value chain".
He was speaking at the opening of Technical Upskilling Development Training Programme on Cashew Value Chain Promotion in Sunyani
The five-day programme was organised by the Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew)/ German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in collaboration with the Ghana Skills Development Initiative/Agriculture Technical Vocational Education Training (GSDI/ATVET) with support from the MoFA.
The goal was to help equip the first batch of 72 participants out of 135 Training Providers (TPs) from the country's Agricultural Training Institutes (ATIs) with requisite knowledge on cashew to ensure that "the right knowledge is passed on to potential trainees that are enroll in the institutions".
The second session of the training would be held in March for a second group of 63 TPs.
The training is expected to provide a knowledge exchange platform for the TPs, while enabling them to build networks for potential future collaborations in the sector.
Upon the completion of the programme, the TPs would be recognised as technical persons with adequate knowledge on cashew to deliver training in the various ATIs.
Mr. Osei-Akoto said Ghana's production of Raw Cashew Nut (RCN) as of 2018 was estimated to be 110,000 metric tons, generating revenue of more than US$378 million, representing 43 per cent of the total revenue obtained from non-traditional export commodities.
Mrs. Juliana Ofori-Karikari, Finance and Administration Manager of ComCashew, said Africa was the current home of cashew because the continent provided more than 50 per cent of global cashew production.
She added that Ghana had become a place of expertise in cashew throughout West Africa, something made possible through the efforts of MoFA, supported by public and private stakeholders like GIZ/ComCashew
Mrs. Ofori-Karikari said there was high demand throughout the West African sub-region for plants that had higher productivity rates and were climate-smart, to achieve the highest possible levels of sustainable production.
Considering Ghana's current status as a leader in the production of high yielding cashew clones, "the country is highly positioned to help bridge this production gap", she added.
Mr. Leonard Dogbey, the GSDI Team Leader, said agriculture being the backbone of the country's economy, "has the potential of reducing unemployment in the country, if all stakeholders who were involved in skills development in the agriculture sector".
The cashew value chain has so many occupations along the various segment of the value chain, which could create unique job opportunities for the unemployed youth.
Mr. Dogbey therefore appealed to the participants to take the training seriously to enable them to acquire technical skills in the cashew value chain, to train learners to meet the standards of the cashew industry.