Bono Regional Minister, Madam Justina Owusu Banahene has opened the 10th Edition of the Master Training Programme on Cashew Value Chain for seven (7) African Countries in Sunyani.
The countries include Ghana, Benin, Mali, Sierra Leone, Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.
The training seeks to provide theoretical knowledge and practical skills of African Cashew experts along the value chain and, to promote the competitiveness of the African cashew industry.
In her speech to open the programme, Madam Justina Owusu Banahene said the Bono Region is the leading producer of cashew in the West African sub-Region. “This cash crop is cultivated in all the Districts in the region, particularly the Jaman and Wenchi areas,” she said.
The Regional Minister gave a snapshot of the cashew industry in the Region and acknowledged a lot of transformation over the years with the introduction of improved technologies along the value chain.
She said the industry has provided employment and income for a number of people in the region and beyond.
The Minister noted that the government have established Tree Crop Development Authority in Ghana to regulate the sector, and launched a Ten (10) year Development plan to reap the huge potential that cashew production presents for the country’s economic development.
She added that Government have also initiated policies aimed at promoting the diversification of tree crops under the planting for export and Rural Development initiative.
The programme provides a platform for cashew experts to share knowledge, discuss best practices and lessons learnt, and build a national and regional network for future collaboration.
It also serves as a platform for participants to learn about all aspects of the cashew value chain ranging from production and processing of raw cashew nuts to economics, cashew market dynamics, marketing and financing mechanisms.
The Executive Director of the Completive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew), Madam Mary Adzanyo who delivered her speech through zoom said the current edition of the Master Training programme began in February 2020 with the remainder of the edition being continued this year, 2021.
The successive sessions she noted will be held mainly in Ghana with satellite sessions held in-country for participants from Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Mail.
The ComCashew initiative constitutes a new type of multi-stakeholder partnership in development cooperation.
The initiative is mainly funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Private companies and government and donor agencies also support the initiative.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft fur International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has been commissioned with the management of the regional project with fair march support as an implementing partner who provides consultation on technical issues and facilitates linkages between farmers and processors.
Madam Mary Adzanyo stated that participants from the satellite locations will have the full training experience, including field trips.
“In inter-sessions, participants return to their host institutions to conduct fieldwork, either individually or in groups, to deepen knowledge on selected topics”, she said.
Here in Ghana, the highlight of the training session will be a visit to the Wenchi Research station.
After completion of the programme, the participants will become certified and acknowledged cashew experts and will go on to train farmers, aid processors, or advice institutions in their respective countries. Participants were advised to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols.
The 90 participants for the training includes Benin 14, Burkina Faso 20, and Cote d’Ivoire 25, Ghana 22, Mali 2, Sierra Leone 6, and Togo 1.
The programme was organized jointly by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana, the African Cashew Alliance and Partner research institutions in seven countries.