The Trade Ministry have hearkened to the fervent outcry of cashew exporters and farmers, lifting the ban which they placed on Monday on the exportation of raw cashew.
Ghana’s Trade Minister, Dr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah on Monday the 14th of March 2016 placed a ban on the exportation of raw cashew from the country, he further stated that the purchase of raw cashew nuts was permitted only during the main harvesting season from January to June, but export of raw cashew nuts would be permitted only after May 31.
The minister who claimed his administrative decision was in the best interest of Ghana said the reason for this was to revamp the local cashew industry and to prevent the further collapse of processing plants in the country. However, his decision was hugely criticized by members of the parliament (who rarely find themselves on a different page with a minister) and cashew farmers in the country. The former threatened to to trigger the necessary legislative instruments to have it withdrawn if the ministry refuses to do so while the latter disdained his decision stating that contrary to his reason to make better, it would only leave them at the mercy of two processing cashew plants.
Two members of the parliament including The Majority leader Alban Bagbin and Deputy Majority Chief Whip Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim described his decision as weak and devoid of legal basis.
After a string of bashing, Spio-Garbrah has decided to withdraw his ban, late on Friday 18th February, in a press statement he said that the trade ministry “wishes to temporarily withdraw the Administrative Directive for the Exportation of Raw Cashew Nut” to enable it widen “its consultations with stakeholders in order to ensure that the cashew industry becomes competitive in a broad-based manner that would lead to job creation and the general well-being of all stakeholders.”
According to his statement, other issues influencing the withdrawal of ban include;
1. The view that the timing for the implementation of the directive would be best when traders or agents who have purchased RCN for exports would not have challenges with warehousing cost, deterioration in quality and the loss in weight of RCN;
2. Acceptance of the view that ideally the directive should have been issued at the beginning of the year to enable farmers, agents and traders plan for the management of the impact;
3. The challenge of managing the transit through Ghana from Burkina Faso of RCN for export though Ghanaian ports.
The statement also included measures by the trade ministry to boost cashew production, they include;
1. Support for the National Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) to enable them purchase the Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN) and establish a “Just-in-Time” inventory to ensure that the indigenous processors have an all-year-round supply of RCN.
2. Initiate discussions concerning establishment of a credit scheme for cashew farmers.
3. Assist indigenous processors to purchase the RCN.
4. Examine the merits of the setting up of the Ghana Cashew Management Board to license, supervise and monitor all activities in the cashew value chain.
5. Work with stakeholders to propose and implement a 10-year cashew development plan for Ghana. This would seek to ensure the development and expansion of the cashew industry and also increase the country’s production to at least 200,000MT by the year 2025.