Exporters of cashew in the country have pleaded with the Ministry of Trade to rescind its decision to ban exportation of the product until 31st May, 2016.
The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Sampson Awingobit Asaaki, explained that investors had committed a lot of resources to the exportation of the product and the ban will result in a huge revenue loss.
“I want to treat this issue with all the contempt that it deserves, the reason being that I have some investors who have invested so much of their proceeds or funds to support Ghanaian cashew producers, and they were expecting that after the harvesting of cashew, they will come and buy it and embark on exports. You know Ghana is one of the countries that is facilitating it for Burkina Faso and Mali,” he responded in an interview with Citi FM.
The Ministry of Trade earlier imposed an embargo on the exportation of cashew in order to retain a sizeable quantity for domestic industries.
The main harvesting season falls between January and June but the ministry insists that there shall be no exports between March 31 and May 31.
“Any raw cashew nuts that are brought to the ports or borders of Ghana for export between March 31 and May 31 shall be confiscated to the state,” the statement signed by the sector minister, Mr Ekow Spio-Gabrah, indicated.
The directive is aimed at protecting local industries who struggle to acquire cashew and resort to importing a large quantity of the nut, a situation which, in 2015, led to the shutdown of nine cashew processing plants out of a total of 13 in the country.
According to the ministry, there was a decline in the quantity of processed cashew from 4,250 tonnes to 2,500 tonnes in 2015, even though processed cashew attracts higher revenue after exports.
“This implies that the industry is operating at just five per cent of its installed processing capacity of 65,890 tonnes,” the release from the ministry further stated.