Two hundred thousand (200, 000) cashew seedlings are being nursed in the Central Gonja district in the Savannah region to promote large scale production of cashew in Ghana.
The initiative is under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme introduced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2017.
Government embarked on the innovation with the aim of improving the livelihood and economic status of farmers in the district as part of its numerous pro-poor policy interventions engineered to reduce poverty and boost the GDP of the nation.
The country’s main cash crop currently is cocoa.
However, under the PERD programme, Shea Nuts, Cashew, Mango and coconut are among several other marketable crops identified by government for investment across the country.
Ghana subscribed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); therefore, the impact of the Planting for Export and Rural Development programme conforms to goal 1 which promotes No Poverty.
The District Chief Executive for Central Gonja, Mr. Mustapha Mahama in an exclusive interview explained to thecustodianghonline.com that the demand for cashew is high at the global market and the market price too is good for business.
He said the intervention also guarantees the long term income of farmers unlike the annual farming of food crops in northern Ghana.
He noted there is sustainability of income generated in cashew farming and added, “That is why we have adopted this kind of investment to help the farmers, not just for now but in few years when it start bearing fruits so that they can enjoy.”
The DCE disclosed the type of seeds used can mature and bear fruits for harvesting between 4 and 5 years. Mr. Mahama said the demand for the seedlings keeps increasing yearly.
According to him, 80, 000 seedlings were distributed in 2018, which he indicated increased to 100,000.
He said as a result of the continuous higher demand this year too, government decided to scale up to 200, 000 seedlings for free to all registered farmers in the area.
Agric Extension Service
The Chief Executive noted government recruited 40 extension officers in the area and they will be providing free agriculture extension service to assist farmers in cultivating the seedlings.
Mr. Mustapha Mahama stated the assembly in collaboration with the Agriculture Department registered more than 2,000 farmers this year to benefit from the support.