It has come to our notice that year by year cashew purchasing season, Cashew nut middlemen buyers Rob our members and non-members of the West Gonja District Co-operative Cashew Farmers and Marketing Union of their gains in cashew farming. Making cashew farming unattractive to the youth and women to venture into the cashew farming sector. Most cashew farmers are losing interest in maintaining their cashew plantations due to the exploitation of cashew buyers cheating them year by year every cashew purchasing season. The main reason cashew farmers are losing interest in the cultivation of cashew farming in the West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region was that middlemen pay a low rate of raw cashew nuts per kilo at the rate of Ghc 2 to 3 Ghc at the beginning of the cashew purchasing season while selling to Exporters at the rate of Ghc 5 to Ghc 7 per kilo.
In December 2021, the minister of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, announced the minimum price of raw cashew nuts to be Ghc 5 per kilo which no buyer to buy below the minimum price at the farm gate across all cashew growing areas in Ghana.
In January 2022, middlemen cashew buyers in West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region already started purchasing raw cashew nuts at Ghc 3 per kilo which is below the minimum price to offer to a cashew farmer in the West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region.
We as a union, have realized that our cashew producers who are in need of money to solve basic needs during the harvesting times are sometimes compelled to sell any amount offered by the middlemen cashew buyers in the Municipality.
The middlemen cashew buyers, therefore, aggregate the raw cashew nuts at a lower price from our cashew producers and sell by bulk purchasing to the cashew exporters with the highest prices for up normal profits to themselves while our cashew producers are in pains with poverty.
With the aforementioned issues surrounding the cashew industry, we as a union came up with a few suggested solutions to solve the low rate cashew purchasing price offered to our members and non-members of the union by way to provide intensive education and advocacy on the benefits of farmers selling through our Union on bulk purchasing to the local cashew processors or local buyers who can offer cashew farmers with competitive prices and premium paid to our members.
We deem it appropriate that this can be best-achieved results-orientated when cashew farmers come together to have one voice and bargaining power to sell through the union to local cashew processors or local cashew buyers in Ghana.
We are, therefore, suggesting that the only medium or platform to communicate our agenda for promotion on Best Cashew prices and premium payment to our members and non-members in the West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region is by using social media platforms such as PAD FM radio station at Aboya Gbon on time 1 hour between 5 pm to 6 pm every Sunday for at least a month or two. This program has a lot of listeners and cashew farmers also listen to the program every Sunday between 3 pm to 6 pm.
We proposed to discuss on the radio station how middle Men pay low prices and a ridiculous amount of money for a kilo or a bag of cashew nut given in advance to enable farmers to clear their farm preparatory to harvest.
We would again be discussing the bad effects on the advances received by the cashew farmers and how they become loyal to the middlemen during cashew purchasing season.
We will also further be discussing the need for all the 3,000 existing cashew farmers of GRACE PROJECT of TreeAid Ghana to become members of the West Gonja District Co-operative Cashew Farmers and Marketing Union Ltd for the benefits of more projects from NGOs, MOFA, Tree Crops Development Authority ( TCDA), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Cashew Council Ghana (CCG) and COMCASHEW/GIZ cashew projects in Ghana.
We will also further be discussing the cashew pricing notification systems developed by TreeAid Ghana for cashew farmers, buyers, and processors to tract win-win cashew business deals with cashew farmers directly into contracts signing for a competitive cashew price to our members.
We will again be discussing ways to improve our member’s cashew quality standards to meet higher prices and premiums paid by our local cashew processors or local buyers to the cashew farmers in the West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region.
We will also be discussing the efforts of TREEAID AND IT’S PARTNERS to enable us to get the best cashew prices and in the future go into cashew processing both cashew apple processing to fruit juice, jams, etc and raw cashew nuts processing into cashew kernels for the consumption of our domestic markets in Northern Ghana.
We will be discussing the benefits of co-operative Cashew groups, societies, and Union functions to operate a formidable and functional group, societies, and Union in West Gonja Municipal in Savannah Region.
We will also be discussing on we cashew producers across the West Gonja Municipal on payment of yearly rent of GHc 10 per cashew acre to Damongo Stool lands and Administrative. The payment of yearly rent at Ghc 10 per acre to the stool lands and Administrative will enable us to receive a lot of benefits from Stool lands and Administrative, Gonja Traditional Council, West Gonja Municipal Assembly, and Non-Governmental Organizations support.
We will finally be discussing getting support from stakeholders in the area of legal rights of our operational area to:
1. Deal with any middlemen cashew buyers in the form of legal action who failed to offer the best cashew prices to our members and non-members.
2. Deal with our members and non-members in the form of legal action who failed to abide by the rules and regulations of aim to stop the middlemen cashew buyers from the exploitation of our cashew producers in West Gonja Municipal in Savannah Region.
3. Deal with any members and nonmembers in the form of legal action who will not cooperate with the Union in the Municipality.
We are, therefore, appealing to all stakeholders to come to our aid to fight fair prices and premium payment to our members and nonmembers in the West Gonja Municipal in Savannah Region.
This is because we have big-time cashew farmers who are widespread in the West Gonja Municipal in Savannah Region. How can we be rescued? The harvest season is about to kick start by February 2022. We need urgent help from stakeholders and NGOs. We promise to cooperate. The cashew middlemen of cashew buyers in West Gonja Municipal in the Savannah Region have taken too much pound weight off our flesh and much of our cashew producer’s blood too.
In conclusion, we are, therefore, appealing for technical support from the Savannah Regional Director of Department of Agriculture and West Gonja Municipal Department Agriculture Director to support us with the Agricultural Extension Agents in West Gonja Municipal to help more education to our cashew producers across the Municipality on the above subject matter raised on best purchasing price to our members and nonmembers of the union during the purchasing season of 2022 and beyond.
BY: *IDDRISU SUMANI
WEST GONJA DISTRICT CO OPERATIVE CASHEW FARMERS AND MARKETING UNION LIMITED