There exist many middlemen in the cashew value chain in West Africa, especially in Ghana who deal with cashew growers directly. Interestingly you often find these middlemen going to the various cashew plantations or orchards to buy the raw cashew nuts from the growers.
They do so at their own farm gate prices though there is standard minimum set price by the Agric ministry. But because many of these farmers are very poor and need money to sort out a lot of responsibilities on their hands sell their produce at any price. This injustice and cheat cannot go on forever.
The president of the West Gonja chapter of the Cooperative Cashew Farmers and Marketing Union, Iddrisu Sumani Azambuja, is accusing some allied middlemen in the cashew value chain of conspiring to exploit cashew farmers in the West Gonja Municipal of the Savannah Region.
Middlemen exploiting cashew growers
This he said was barefaced in the low prices these middlemen hide behind the value chain to offer to cashew farmers in the municipality for their many years of toil.
In an engagement with the media, the vociferous president noted rather regrettably that cashew farmers in the municipality were currently being paid as low as GhS2.00 to GhS3.00 per kilogram of raw cashew nuts against the minimum price (GhS7.00) set by the minister December 2021.
“Friends from the media, it is disgusting to point out that cashew farmers in our municipality after toiling many years to take care of the tree crops are offered between GhS2.00 and GhS3.00 per kilogram of raw cashew nuts purchased and same is sold to exporters at a rate above GhS7.00 per kilogram.
“…. in December 2021, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto announced the minimum price of raw cashew nuts to be GhS5.00 per kilogram and cautioned all buyers not to offer any price below the minimum price at farm gates across all cashew growing areas in Ghana,” he said.
He said the cashew growers are compelled by pressing social needs to sell the raw cashew nuts to these allied middlemen at any price offered, a situation which he believed was discouraging many farmers and especially, the youth from venturing into cashew farming in the municipality.
Mr. Azambuja called for unity and a collaborative effort among cashew farmers under one umbrella to foster a stronger voice and increase bargaining power through the cashew union for a guaranteed price.
The cashew advocate disclosed that there was the need for the over 3,000 existing cashew growers in the municipality to adopt and discuss the Cashew Pricing Notification System developed by TreeAid Ghana for cashew growers, buyers, and processors to transact a win-win cashew business deals with cashew farmers directly into contract signing for competitive cashew prices to members.
He also hinted at plans to go into future processing of cashew into fruit juice, jams, and cashew kernels for domestic market consumption in northern Ghana.
Whilst calling for stakeholder support to reverse the current trend, he launched a passionate appeal to the Regional and Municipal Agriculture Directorates to help build the capacity of cashew farmers in the union, especially in the areas of pricing and marketing.
He disclosed that henceforth, legal actions would be taken against any middlemen who will attempt to exploit cashew farmers through the backdoor and non-cooperative members will be sanctioned accordingly.