The Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) has held an editors’ forum in Accra to encourage increased media focus on the cashew sector.

The forum held at the Paloma Hotel in Accra on Monday is part of a cashew visibility project by the Association, which seeks to build knowledge of media persons on cashew sector.

It was also aimed at exposing them to newsworthy issues in the sector.

Deputy General Secretary of GARDJA Joseph Opoku Gakpo in his presentation explained that “the initiative also seeks to expose media persons to practical issues militating against the development of cashew sector and draw their attention to recent policy developments in the cashew sector.

“The project also seeks to put cashew industry players like farmers directly in touch with media practitioners, and publicise cashew sector issues to members of public.”

In all 10 editors and subeditors from Adom FM, myjoyonline.com, Citi FM/TV, Homebase TV, Modernghana.com, Akuafo TV, Graphic Communications Group, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, and TV3 participated.

Despite being a major contributor to Ghana’s economy with more than 125,000 farmers growing the crop, the sector is facing varied challenges including low local processing and declining farmer price.

But unlike cocoa, very little conversations are happening around the cashew crop.

The Deputy General Secretary of GARDJA explained that the GARDJA cashew visibility initiative will work to ensure the Ghanaian public has access to more and better investigative reports on cashew sector sustainability issues on radio, online, newspaper and TV.

It will ensure the voice of cashew farmers and processors will be heard on the challenges facing the industry.

“Through the initiative media houses will contribute to informed public debate on cashew industry and journalists will be able to hold government accountable for their actions and words on the cashew industry,” he added.

President of the Ghana Journalists Association Dr. Affail Money told the gathering the GJA was proud of the initiative being rolled out by GARDJA, describing it as a laudable one.

General Secretary of the Cashew Farmers Association of Ghana Clement Anane who was present at the forum said cashew farmers are facing various challenges including pest attacks on their farms.

He called for more support from the media to deal with these difficulties.

President of Cashew Processors Ghana Ed-Malvin Nii Ayibonte Smith said cashew processors are also facing a lot of challenges including inadequate financing and high operational cost. He also called for the support of the media to deal with these challenges.

President of GARDJA Richmond Frimpong assured more initiatives including field trips, workshops, and bursary support for journalists will be rolled out soon to encourage increased media attention on the cashew sector.