Tons of cashew nuts are getting rotten in the Brong Ahafo Region as cashew buyers are unable to export nuts to foreign markets due to an export ban placed on the commodity by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI).
The ban was enforced as part of measures to improve local processing of cashew which is expected to create jobs and add value to agricultural products before exports.
However, buyers of the produce say, out of the 950,000 bags of cashew produced in the country, factories in the country have the capacity to process only 35,000 bags of cashew leaving over 900,000 bags worth millions of cedis to rot.
In an interview with Onua FM’s Obaapayin Abena Nyamekye, the acting Chairman of the Cashew Buyers Association in Techiman, Mr Mumuni Issah said if the ban is not lifted by the end of May this year, “no processing plant will be allowed to buy any cashew nut from the region.”
He said most farmers have invested in the expansion of their farms and as result the farmers have to sell their produce and provide returns to their investors, most of whom are foreigners from Nigeria.
“We want government to lift the ban on export of raw cashew nuts to allow us export the commodity to generate revenue to pay back our investors and provide livelihood for our families,” he said.
“The ban on export of cashew is putting farmers at the mercy of the two functioning processing plants who can quote low prices to buy the cashew, but farmers will have no choice since there are no alternatives,” he added.
He said though the association supports the strengthening of local industries, the ban would impoverish cashew farmers as their produce go bad.
There are 12 processing companies in the country, 10 have shut down, leaving Mim Cashew and Agricultural Products Ltd and recently opened Usibra Limited.