Green for Change Ghana, in collaboration with Nathan Associates, has successfully completed the implementation of a six-month project entitled ” Building the capacity of smallholder cashew farmers on harvest and post-harvest including nut quality” in six communities within the West Gonja municipality of the Savannah region of Ghana.
The initiative was made possible through the generous support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Feed the Future Ghana Trade and Investment (GTI) Activity.
Speaking at the end-of-project evaluation workshop held at the Eco Club House in Damongo on Thursday, October 28, 2023, the Executive Director of Green for Change Ghana Mr. John Balankoo Sumbo indicated that smallholder cashew farmers made up the majority of cashew producers (88%) in Ghana. However, the income potential from this cash crop is not being fully realized due to low yield as most farmers lack knowledge of good silvicultural practices including harvest and post-harvest management techniques, limiting their ability to increase productivity.
Mr. Sumbo added that farmers have a poor understanding of cashew markets and compete rather than cooperate with each other at the farm gate to sell to middlemen.
“The project focused on addressing these challenges by building upon existing structures and strengthening the capabilities of cashew farmers, with a specific focus on nut quality. Through the project, 300 cashew producers received direct capacity-building programs in harvest and post harvest management techniques, nut quality parameters such as KOR, nut count, defective rate, and moisture content as well as training on negotiation, entrepreneurship, and access to improved markets. In addition, 30 lead farmers were drawn from the pool of beneficiaries further trained in good agricultural practices in cashew production and deployed to their communities to support their peers in adopting best practices in their cashew orchards.”
“Green for Change also made a significant contribution to reforestation and environmental preservation by distributing 2,645 seedlings of different species, including cashew, mango, baobab, kapok, mahogany, and cassia, in partnership with the Forest Service Division and World Vision Ghana.”
Mr. Sumbo also disclosed that throughout the project they learned that the lead farmer approach was a very good module for empowering grassroots structures and deepening sustainability.
“The farmers were excited about the training especially accessing the quality of their nuts so that they can have quality bits to sell at a premium price because these days buyers buy based on quality, he said.
“Interest in cashew cultivation particularly for youth groups is high and this could be leveraged to reduce youth employment in the area. Also, processing of raw cashew nut (RCN) into furnished or semi-finished products for both local and international markets will further empower the cashew farmers and create sustained employment opportunities, particularly for both youth and women.”
A representative from the Department of Agriculture at the West Gonja Municipal Assembly, Mr. Ezekiel Akwasi Gariba, said the training was very timely for the development of farmers in the municipality.
He noted that the buyers of cashew nuts normally buy the nuts at cheaper prices because the farmers are ignorant about how to determine the quality of the cashew nut.
“The buyers normally claim that the nuts produced from here and the north are always of low quality and the farmers do not have knowledge about the quality of the nuts and because of poverty the farmers sell their nuts for low prices with the training farmers have been taught how to determine the quality of a cashew nut and the farmers were very appreciative because they had no knowledge of how to determine quality cashew nut so they can now get good prices for the cashew nuts.”
Alidu Shahadu, who spoke on behalf of the cashew farmers, thanked Green for Change Ghana for the training, adding that it will go a long way to enhance their farming activities and productivity. “This project represents a significant step toward sustainable agriculture and economic development for smallholder cashew farmers in Ghana, all thanks to the dedicated efforts of Green for Change Ghana and its partners.”
Source: Padfm.com.gh/Kumatey Gorden/0243531604