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Trade Ministry, others confer on improving cashew sector

Government has assured it is working to end the challenges confronting the country’s cashew industry.

About ten thousand jobs are reported to have been lost due to challenges facing the industry.

The reported job losses, emanated from the Trade Ministry’s decision to ban the export of raw cashew nuts between March and May this year.

The Ministry had argued that, the decision would increase the capacity of the local processing companies.

According to the ministry the local processing companies are producing below the 70,000 metric tonnes capacity.

But after a heavy backlash from MPs and angry cashew farmers, the sector Minister, Dr. Ekow Spio –Garbrah suspended the policy to allow for further consultations.

Managing Director of Mim Cashew, Joseph Yeung, told Citi Business News the withdrawal of the policy has drastically reduced their operations.

‘‘It depends on whether we can buy enough. It’s a pity we are going back to square one. We have installed seven thousand five hundred tonnes but we are only able to process four and a half, five thousand tonnes,” he stated.

Meanwhile another processor, Charles Kwame Kuma believes the increased price of the crop has compelled some companies including his, to fold up,

‘‘I am not having huge capital so when the price went up to the current level, I could not hold up. In 2015, it went all the way to 3 cedis, thirty pesewas. As a result, I could only buy half of what I used to buy.” He observed.

The Deputy Communications Manager at the Trade Ministry, Ahmed Nassir Yartey in response, assured that the ministry will confer with the Agric Ministry to seek an immediate solution to the issue.

‘‘If we can grow more cashew, we can have some to export and also at the same time, feed our industry. From the point of view of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, we are interested in processing and getting more cashew nuts for the companies to process. So that is why the export ban was placed. But in all our deliberations, we will work closely with the ministry of Agriculture”, Mr. Yartey said.

By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

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