The Ministry of Trade, has withdrawn the ban on exportation of raw cashew nuts in the country.
This follows the massive public outcry that met the earlier directive.
Members of Parliament (MP), last week criticized the Trade Minister, Dr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah, for issuing the directive and threatened to trigger the necessary legislative instruments to have it withdrawn if the ministry fails to do so.
The Ministry’s directive among other things stated that 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.
According to them, the directive sought to revamp the local cashew industry and to prevent the further collapse of processing plants in the country.
But cashew farmers and exporters opposed the directive despite the Trade Minister’s explanation that the decision was in the best interest of the nation.
A statement signed by Dr. Spio-Garbrah said despite and copied to The Herald states that, “withdrawing the directive,” his outfit “is taking steps to ensure that the development of the cashew industry is accomplished through a comprehensive and inclusive process.”
The statement said, the Ministry would 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.
Below unedited is the statement:
A TEMPORARY WITHDRAWAL OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTIVE FOR THE EXPORTATION OF RAW CASHEW NUT (RCN)
The Ministry of Trade and Industry wishes to temporarily withdraw the Administrative Directive for the Exportation of Raw Cashew Nut (RCN).
However, the Ministry is taking steps to ensure that the development of the cashew industry is accomplished through a comprehensive and inclusive process.
The Ministry will 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.
Among the issues informing the withdrawal include:
• 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;
• 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;• The challenge of managing the transit through Ghana from Burkina Faso of RCN for export though Ghanaian ports.
Meanwhile, in order to bring some order into the cashew industry in the medium to long term, the Ministry would in consultation with all stakeholders in particular the Cashew Industry Association of Ghana (CIAG), put in place the following measures:
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.
DR. EKWOW SPIO-GARBRAH