By Samuel Duodu, Nsawkaw
CASHEW farmers in the Tain District of the Brong Ahafo Region have appealed to the government to promote cashew since it has an international market value like other crops such as cocoa.
They further appealed to the government to give adequate attention to the crop just like cocoa and called for assistance such as soft loans as well as farm inputs to boost its production.
According to them, when cashew was given the needed attention just like cocoa, coffee and other cash crops that had a foreign exchange value, it would not only encourage the youth to go into its production but would also help generate income for the country.
The farmers who made the appeal in an interview with Graphic Nsempa at Nsawkaw, also appealed to the government and other private companies to establish facilities that could process the cashew and add adequate value to the product before marketing.
This, they said would also provide jobs for the teeming unemployed youth in the district and its environs.
If the commodity is processed, it can produce oil, alcohol, juices, animal feed, among others, but the farmers expressed regret that they were making little or no profit for their livelihoods.
The cashew tree has a life span of 70 years and its fruit and nuts have high economic values.
The Tain District is one of the cashew production areas in the Brong Ahafo Region, apart from Sampa and Techiman in the Jaman North District and the Techiman Municipality.
Currently, cashew nut prices in the Tain district have started on a good note this farming season. Graphic Nsempa findings indicate that 80 kilograms (kgs) of cashew knit cost GH¢32.
Some Cashew farmers who spoke to Graphic Nsempa said it was a good start compared with the same period last year when 80kgs traded for Gh¢22.
According to a purchasing clerk, Mr Sulemann Zadam, who had been in the industry for the past seven years, there had been negotiations with their Indian trading partners, who had agreed to stabilise the price at Gp40 per kilogram, adding that the price would be revised as production increased.
Some of the farmers who spoke to Graphic Nsempa were optimistic that production would be at a record high this year considering the decline in bush fires and the ample rainfall recorded last year.