Eleven out 12 local cashew nut processing companies have closed down because of stiff competition from foreign businesses.
The foreign businesses buy raw cashew nuts and export them, a development which has denied the local companies of raw cashew nuts to process.
This came to light when the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah (Dr), paid a visit to the Mim Cashew and Agricultural Products Limited (MCAPL) as part of his three-day tour of industrial establishments in the Brong Ahafo Region.
It is estimated that Ghana produces 65,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts per annum, while the current installed cashew capacity is approximately 70,000 metric tonnes.
However, MCAPL, the only operating cashew processing company now, can only process 5,000 metric tonnes of cashew because of lack of raw cashew nuts.
The Managing Director of MCAPL, Mr Joseph Yeung, who briefed Mr Spio-Garbrah about the situation of the cashew processing industry in the country, said unless some policies were put in place immediately, the industry would totally collapse.
“There are clear advantages from processing the raw cashew nuts locally, since that creates a number of jobs, as well as generates extra revenue for the country,” he said.
Mr Yeung called for the imposition of huge taxes on the exportation of raw cashew nuts to ensure that a larger percentage of the produce was retained in the country for processing before it was exported.
Closure of Ivorian border
Mr Yeung explained that prior to the closure of the Cote d’Ivoire border, the company was able to purchase 50 per cent of its raw cashew nuts needs from that country.
However, with the closure, he explained, “we are forced to purchase the raw cashew nuts from Burkina Faso at high cost, while operating at 60 per cent of installed capacity”.
He said the company which was set up in 2008 with a processing capacity of 300 metric tonnes increased its capacity to 7,000 metric tonnes in 2014.
Responding, Mr Spio-Garbrah stated that the visit had given him a clear idea about the existing problem, adding that there was the need for a stakeholder meeting to see how to resolve the problem.
Source: Daily Graphic
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