The trilateral cooperation between Ghana, Germany and Brazil which seeks to boost cashew apple processing and marketing has trained 200 farmers and artisanal processors in cashew-apple handling and processing into juice and other products.
The farmers and artisanal processors capacities have also been built on food safety practices, quality standards and warehousing.
Mr Seth Osei-Akoto, the Director of Crop Services (DCS) Directorate, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) said when he was speaking at the opening of the third session of the 11th Edition of the Cashew Training Programme (MTP)in Sunyani.
The five-day programme, organised by the Competitive Cashew initiative (GIZ/ComCashew) in partnership with the African Cashew Alliance (ACA) and support from the MoFA and Cocoa Research Institute Ghana (CRIG) was attended by 60 cashew experts drawn from all over Ghana.
It was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and aimed among others at cashew harvest and post-harvest practices, value addition through cashew kernel and by-product processing and other cross-cutting issues like sector analysis and cashew marketing.
Mr Osei-Akoto disclosed processors like Mim Cashew and USIBRAS were also processing the cashew nutshell into Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL), which is used extensively in the paint and petroleum industries and in the production of insecticides.
He said as part of its mandate to carry out cashew research in Ghana, the product development department of CRIG was also working extensively on developing new cashew by-products like cashew jam, wine, gin and ethanol from the cashew apple.
It is envisaged that these products would be produced commercially to promote local consumption, the MoFA DCS added.
Ms Rita Weidinger, the Executive Director of GIZ/ComCashew entreated the participants to explore ways of making a difference within their work places and communities by being “strong cashew ambassadors from regulations, to teaching, processing, farming, health and nutrition”.
She announced this year, beside supporting the MTP and the Ghana Tree Crop Development Authority, SECO also invested in cashew apple processing and supported local cashew processors with Coronavirus relief items.
Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive, in a welcoming address commended the GIZ/ComCashew, the ACA and their partners for the organisation of the MTPs, describing it as “a great initiative” which over the years had impacted the lives of many people in Ghana and Africa.
“Employment creation, value addition, provision of appropriate skills and adoption of sensitive attitudes for impactful performance are but few of the numerous benefits this great initiative has created”, she cited.