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GASIP’s goal is to contribute to sustainable poverty reduction in rural areas of Ghana and its dev...

cashewInternational businesses are the hardest hit by the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and the cashew sector is no different.

China, USA and European countries, which are the major cashew kernel markets, have closed their borders to travels to control the spread of the deadly virus, slowing down trade. Cashew processing giants like Vietnam and India which are the major exporters of kernels to these countries have drastically reduced their processing volumes.

Because most of Vietnam and India-processed cashews are sourced from African countries, there has been falling demand for Raw Cashew nuts (RCN), and consequently, a drop in RCN prices.

In Ghana, the implementation of preventive measures against the effects of COVID-19, such as the closure of all borders to entry, a ban on social gatherings, lockdowns in high-risk cities, and the introduction of work shifts for essential services have brought a sudden halt to international cashew trading.

With the possibility of impacts persisting long after COVID-19 has passed due to a possible global recession, will these developments culminate in a loss of farmers’ interest in cashew production in Ghana?

With health as a major focus because of COVID-19, consumers’ demand for healthy nuts like cashew is rising. How can the African cashew sector take advantage of the presented opportunities?

In 2018, the cashew sector raked in about GHS 378m as a Non-Traditional Export crop for Ghana. The sector is projected to be a major earner in the agriculture sector for the country.

Ghana has the opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities using the Ghana Tree Crops Authority which was passed into an Act in December 2019, and is planned to be operationalized this year. This could be the silver lining for the cashew sector amidst the COVID-19 so that a resilient, holistic value chain is created to withstand another global shock.

fao logoEnsuring people have access to food by keeping borders open for trade is critical during this period of COVID-19 and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director-General QU Dongyu, has said on Tuesday May 5 during the first meeting of the Task Force on the impact of COVID-19 on Food Security and Nutrition in Africa.

The meeting – co-convened by Qu and Angela Thoko Didiza, Minister for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development of South Africa and Chair of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment was moderated by Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, of the African Union Commission.

Task Force members included the European Union, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme(WFP) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD). The main role of the Task Force is to help coordinate the actions set out in the joint political declaration made in April by Africa’s Ministers for Agriculture, with support from FAO and the African Union, on protecting food security and nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the declaration, the Ministers committed to minimizing food system disruptions while ensuring measures are in place to contain the spread of the virus, along with other measures to safeguard food security and nutrition.

The Task Force will also provide coordinated support to any new food security “hot spots” resulting from COVID-19, with particular focus on countries facing multiple threats such as the Desert Locust infestation in Eastern Africa.

During the meeting the FAO Director-General underscored the need to support the most vulnerable in Africa, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the need to do this through innovation throughout the food supply chain, including the adoption of digital agriculture technologies. Qu stressed the need for a coordinated and holistic approach and the need to match advocacy with concrete action to ensure the food systems transformation.

Minister Didiza agreed on the need to ensure the timely movement of goods and produce in line with crop production calendars. She also pointed to the need to support farmers with protective equipment and to ensure they have access to water for adequate hygiene in addition to other needs.

Commissioner Sacko, urged all parties to work together to defeat COVID-19 through solidarity, coordination and unity.

With many African countries still dependent on food imports, greater emphasis needs to be placed building the resilience of the continent’s food systems, Sacko said.

For his part, Wolfgang Burtscher, the EU’s Director-General for Agriculture and Rural Development also stressed the importance of trade and aligning responses to ensure that supply chains are not broken. There is a need to ensure that the current health crisis does not become a food crisis.

Government Urged to Design Policies to Improve Agric

13 September 2019
Government Urged to Design Policies to Improve Agric

Government has been urged to design national strategies and formulate policies for farmers to enable them adopt conservative agricultural practices, which are climate resilient. Madam Jocelyn G. Brown Hall, the...

Smallholder Farmers in Amanchia Trained in Conservation Agriculture

13 September 2019
 Smallholder Farmers in Amanchia Trained in Conservation Agriculture

  The Ghana Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (GASIP) has held a five-day training programme for smallholder farmers on sustainable farming through the adoption of conservation agriculture at Amanchia in the...

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