Ghana’s cashew nut farmers have expressed their unhappiness with a new pricing scheme proposed by Ghana’s Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA).
Particularly, the farmers are blaming the Ghana Cashew Council (GCC) that represents cashew growers on the TCDA for wanting to dictate the prices of cashew with the introduction of a new pricing regime that will set an upper limit for cashew prices.
The cashew farmers have attributed this move to the lack of proper representation on the Council, as there are no big-player cashew exporters on the GCC to provide better insight into the challenges of cashew farming that will aid in the decision-making process and advance the cause of the cashew farmer.
According to the cashew farmers, the introduction of this new pricing scheme will negatively affect their businesses by way of; preventing them from competitively pricing their produce and creating unemployment for commission-based traders who serve as middlemen between the farmers and export companies, leaving them jobless.
Furthermore, in the absence of support schemes, the farmers say this initiative by GCC will cripple their businesses as they will not make enough profit to pay off loans taken for their farming businesses.
Speaking to adomonline.com, one of the farmers explained: “We want to sell our products at competitive prices, depending on their quality, so that we can pay back our loans and be able to expand our farms,” the farmer noted.
According to this farmer, any attempt by the Authority of GCC to regulate and control prices will lead to a collapse of the cashew industry and put farmers in perpetual debt.
This comes barely a month after TCDA was commissioned by President Nana Akufo-Addo on September 29, 2020, to develop tree crops in the country.
The president mandated the Authority to lead the agenda for the diversification of Ghana’s agriculture by developing the tree crops sector, explaining that Government’s strategy is to promote the development of tree crops, other than cocoa, with equal or even higher economic potential.
The implementation of same or similar price regulation measures in countries such as Tanzania and Ivory Coast, the farmers say, have accounted for the collapse of their cashew export business in those countries.
The situation, the farmers have said, has had big economic implications for players in the cashew industry value chain and are wondering why the government will want to go on a similar tangent.
The farmers insist therefore that a free market policy, as has always been the case, must remain the way forward.
The farmers have vowed to constitute themselves into an association, if need be, to fight any obnoxious policies that will affect their livelihoods negatively.