- The president of the West Gonja Municipal Co-orperative Cashew Farmers and Marketing Union Mr. Iddrisu Sumani has lamented over the annual cheating and robbery of cashew Farmers of their toils by middle men in the cashew value – chain in the Savannah Region particularly the West Gonja Municipal.
- He thereby call for the intervention of some stakeholders in the cashew value chain. Below is the full statement
- PRESS STATEMENT BY MR. IDDRISU SUMANI, PRESIDENT OF WEST GONJA MUNICIPAL CO – ORPERATIVE CASHEW FARMERS AND MARKETING UNION LTD ON THE ANNUAL ROBING AND CHEATING OF CASHEW FARMERS OF THEIR TOILS BY MIDDLE MEN IN THE CASHEW VALUE-CHAIN IN SAVANNAH REGION.* Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, We call you here today to share with you our sad but humiliating and daylight robbery situation that has weakened the West Gonja Municipal Cooperative Cashew Farmers and Marketing Union limited desire to also growth economically in Savannah Region. Friends of the press, it has come to our notice that our members are being robbed year in , year out and in every cashew purchasing season by some so allied middlemen in Cashew value chain like cashew nuts buyers.
This group that forms small portion of the cashew value chain, hide behind the value chain and rob our members and non members of the West Gonja District Co operative Cashew Farmers and Marketing Union of their gains in cashew farming.
This situation, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, did not only impacted negatively in our finances, but has also Made cashew production very unattractive to the teeming youth and women are looking up to us as mentors to venture into the sector.
As part of the fall outs the greedy activities by middlemen leading members these loosing interest in maintaining their cashew plantations because there’s no way for us to continue to watch ourselves being exploited by these middlemen because that’s the main reason cashew farmers are loosing interest in the cultivation of cashew fa in the Municipality.
Friend’s of the media, it’s disgusting and painful for a farmer who has toiled for the the season’s upon season’s only for a middleman to pay as low as Ghc2 to Ghc 3 per a rate of raw cashew nuts per kilo at the beginning of every cashew purchasing season while selling same to Exporters at the rate of Ghc 5 to Ghc 7 per kilo.
In December,2021, the minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Akoto Aferiyie announced the minimum price of raw cashew nuts to be Ghc 5 per kilo which no buyer to buy below the minimum price at farm gate across all cashew growing areas in Ghana.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, In January, 2022, middle men cashew buyers in West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region already started purchasing raw cashew nuts at Ghc 3 per kilo which is below the minimum price of the minimum price to offer to a cashew farmers in the West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region.
We as a union, have realized that our cashew producers who are need of money to solve basic needs during the harvesting times sometimes compelled to sell any amount offered by the middle men cashew buyers in the Municipality.
The middle men cashew buyers therefore, aggregates the raw cashew nuts at a lower price from our cashew producers and sell by bulk purchasing to the cashew Exporters with highest prices for up normal profits to themselves while our cashew producers are in pains with poverty.
It against above this background that the Union members came out with some resolutions aim at addressing the marketing especially, the low rate cashew purchasing price offer to our members and non members of the union by way to provide intensive education and advocacy on the benefits of farmers selling through our Union on bulk purchasing to the local cashew processors or local buyers who can offer cashew farmers with competitive prices and premium paid to our members.
We deem appropriate that, this can be best achieve results orientated by cashew farmers coming together to have one voice and bargaining power to sell through the union to local cashew processors or local cashew buyers in Ghana.
We are therefore, suggesting that the only medium or platform to communicate our agenda for promotion on Best Cashew prices and premium payment to our members and non members in the West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region is by using social media platforms including the traditional media Radio stations and television stations operating in the Savannah Region. The stations has a wide listenership with many our cashew farmers also doing to listening too.
We proposed to discuss on the radio station how middle Men pay low prices and ridiculous amount of money for a kilo or a bag of cashew nut given in advance to enable farmers clear their farm preparatory to harvest.
We would again be discussing bad effects on the advanced received by the cashew farmers and how they become loyal to the middle men during cashew purchasing season.
We will also further be discussing on the need for all the 3,000 existing cashew farmers of GRACE PROJECT of TreeAid Ghana to become members of the West Gonja District Co operative Cashew Farmers and Marketing Union Ltd for the benefits of more projects from NGOs, MOFA, Tree Crops Development Authority ( TCDA), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), Cashew Council Ghana (CCG) and COMCASHEW/GIZ cashew projects in Ghana.
We will also further be discussing on the cashew pricing notification systems developed by TreeAid Ghana for cashew farmers, buyers and processors to transact win – win cashew business deals with cashew farmers directly into contracts signing for a competitive cashew prices to our members.
We will gain be discussing ways to improve our members cashew quality standards to meet higher price and premium paid by our local cashew processors or local buyers to the cashew farmers in the West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region.
We will also be discussing the efforts of TREEAID AND IT’S PARTNERS to enable us get best cashew prices and in future go into cashew processing both cashew apple processing to fruit juice, jams, etc and raw cashew nuts processing into cashew kernels for the consumption of our domestic markets in Northern Ghana.
We will be discussing on the benefits of co operative Cashew groups, societies and Union functions to operate a formidable and functional groups, societies and Union in West Gonja Municipal in Savannah Region.
We will also be discussing on cashew producers across the West Gonja Municipal on payment of yearly rent of GHc 10 per cashew acre to Damongo Stool lands and Administrative. The payment of yearly rent at Ghc 10 per acre to the stool lands and Administrative will enable us received a lot of benefits from Stool lands and Administrative, Gonja Traditional Council, West Gonja Municipal Assembly and Non Governmental Organizations support.
We will be finally be discussing on getting support from stakeholders in the area of legal rights of our operational area to:
- Deal with any middle men cashew buyers in the form of legal action who failed to offer best cashew prices to our members and non members.
2) Deal with our members and non members in the form of legal action who failed to abide by the rules and regulations of aim to stop the middle men cashew buyers from exploitation of our cashew producers in West Gonja Municipal in Savannah Region.
3) Deal with any members and non members in the form of legal action who will not co operative with the Union in the Municipality.
We are therefore, appealing to all stakeholders to come to our aid to fight fair prices and premium payment to our members and non members in the West Gonja Municipal in Savannah Region.
This is because we have big time cashew farmers who are wide spread in the West Gonja Municipal in Savannah Region.
How can we be rescued? The harvest season is about to kick start by February, 2022. We need urgent help from stakeholders and NGOs. We promise to cooperate. The cashew middle men of cashew buyers in West Gonja Municipal in Savannah Region have taken too much pound weight off our flesh and much of our cashew producers blood too.
In conclusion friends of the Media, we are therefore, appealing to both our Regional and Municipal agric Directorates to help build the capacity of Cashew Producers in the Union across the Municipality on the above subject to further place value on our products using marketing and prizing for the 2022 purchasing season and beyond.
President, WGM Cooperative Cashew Farmers and Marketing Union LTD.