President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will, Tuesday, inaugurate the Board of the Ghana Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA), a body to regulate Ghana’s tree crops, in Kumasi.
Like the Ghana Cocoa Board, this board will oversee the regulation of the production, processing and trading of tree crops: cashew, oil palm, rubber, shea, mango and coconut in Ghana.
The TCDA will also among others, identify and develop a sustainable source of funding to promote and support the development of the tree crop industry.
It will also be mandated to coordinate and facilitate to build the capacity of farmers, processors, traders and exporters of tree crops, and also serve as a licensure body to actors of the tree crop value chain.
Taking inspiration from the success of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Managing Director of the African Cashew Alliance, Ernest Mintah, is confident the Tree Crop Development Authority will get the best out of Ghana’s promising cashew sub-sector in creating jobs, foreign exchange generation, elevating poverty and the general economic growth of the country.
“The success of the cocoa sector gives an indication that a well-developed, regulated and coordinated cashew sub-sector can contribute significantly to Ghana’s economic growth. Not only cashew but tree crops in general,” he said in an interview.
Currently contributing an estimated 110 metric tons of global raw cashew production of the crop, with about 15% local processing rate, Ghana’s cashew sub-sector has lost its competitiveness to that of neighbouring cashew producing countries, like Cote d’Ivoire who have a well-developed and regulated sector, and Asian countries like India and Vietnam.
Mr. Mintah is confident that given the needed resources and support, the TCDA will reignite the competitiveness of the cashew industry, and the tree crop industry at large.
The TCDA, he believes, will not only ensure Ghana becomes a leading producer of cashew in the world but can also make Ghana a leader in terms of local processing of the crop in West Africa by creating favourable conditions for local processors.
“Ghana has the potential of becoming one of the leading producers of Cashew in the world and this is something the Authority can make a reality. With the right support, the authority can also increase Ghana’s processing rate to become one of the best in the subregion,” he said.
Price volatility has been a challenge for the cashew industry over the years.
Because of the ill-regulated nature of the sector, prices are mostly determined by buyers and exporters at the farm gate and are mostly either overpriced or under-priced. This affects both farmers and local processors.
Mr Mintah believes the authority will properly regulate the pricing system, such that neither the farmer nor the processor is exploited.
For him, it is fulfilling that the efforts of the African Cashew Alliance and other stakeholders of the tree crop sector in getting this bill passed and operational is finally going to be rewarded.
The Tree Crop Development Authority (TCDA) bill was laid and first read in Parliament on 4th July 2019, after several consultations between the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and stakeholders, and referred to the Parliamentary Committee on Food, Agriculture, and Cocoa Affairs.
On 14th November 2019, the committee report was discussed on the floor of Parliament and the bill read the second time. The bill was finally passed on 2ndDecember 2019 after a period of consideration.