The Project Manager for the Bono-Asante Atea cashew Project Dr. Anthony Augustus Mainoo is asking cashew farmers in the Wenchi Municipality to adopt good Agricultural Practices in their quest to improve yields and income.
According to him, most of the aged farmers are unable to carry out some of the important and physically demanding practices such as pruning and thinning out of the closely spaced trees, which is done with chain saw machines and pest and disease control requiring spraying with mist blower machines which are also heavy to carry.
Dr. Mainoo said many farmers do not adopt these practices due to lack of access to equipment however, farmers were willing to pay for such services if offered.
He made this disclosure during the handing over of some equipment that farmers can use to resolve the challenges that have been identified in the cashew production process co-funded by the European Union and ADRA UK in Wenchi in the Bono Region.
According to him, the Project seeks to increase employment in the cashew value chain industry for 14,500 women, youth and men domiciled in cashew growing areas in the Wenchi Municipal, Tain and Jaman North districts in the Bono Region; Nkoranza North District in the Bono East Region; and Ejura-Sekyedumase Municipal in the Ashanti Region by January 2022.
The ceremony was organized by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) a global Humanitarian organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church with a mission to work with people in poverty and distress to create just and positive change.
He revealed that at the end of the first year of implementation about 1,500 women, youth and men within the district showed interest in participating in the project and have been registered unto the project adding that out of these, about 700 were supported with interventions aimed at creating job opportunities in the cashew industry.
Hon. Dr. Prince Kwakye Afriyie Municipal Chief Executive for Wenchi indicated that the industry needs more support from global partners to boost the value chain. “There are still numerous challenges facing this industry but the fact that its gains are guaranteed makes it a worthy venture especially considering the fact that the government and other stakeholders are working on fixing these challenges” he said.
“Farmers in Ghana are very poor but elsewhere in Europe the narrative is different why can’t it be like that in Ghana” he quizzed.
Chairman for the occasion, Nana Ansere Asakrah II Akrobihene advised farmers to keep the items handed over to them in good care and not use them for their personal business as most individuals do in Ghana.
He urged all to be supportive of various activities in the cashew production process; he is confident that the industry will achieve its objectives of increasing access to employment opportunities, ensuring sustainability of development of local authorities and increasing income of farmers in selected districts of the cashew growing areas.
The Program officer for ADRA UK, Daria Markek thanked the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the entire value chain actors for their great support for the project. “I would like to gratefully acknowledge the work of our project management team and you the farmers; It has been positive and successful and the program is running smoothly” she added.
Also present at the handing over ceremony were Actors from the Cashew Value Chain in the beneficiary districts, Ministry of Food and Agriculture officials, Cashew Desk Officers, Officials from ADRA and officials from Wenchi Municipal Assembly.