Analysis of the Cashew Sub-Sector in Ghana: A motivation for Anacardio Farms.
In 2008, 61,590t of raw cashew nuts valued US$ 45.37 million were exported for processing, mainly to India, while annual local production was estimated to be 26,454t. These numbers indicate cross border trading of raw cashew nuts between Ghana and neighboring countries, especially Côte d’Ivoire. In 2008, RCN exports contributed to 6.1% of GDP and 18.2% of agricultural GDP (computed according to data available from the Ghana Shippers’ Council and the Ghana Statistical Service). It has been estimated that the cashew sub-sector can contribute to pro-poor economic growth by generating over 200,000 permanent and seasonal jobs, particularly for farm laborers and intermediaries (Cashew Development Project, 2008). Furthermore, RCN marketing, distribution, and processing offer more than 5,000 permanent and seasonal jobs annually in the cashew industry as it now stands (CDP, 2009a). The Ghana Cashew Industry Study conducted by MOFA in 1998 estimated that Ghana has enough land to develop new plantations of about 60,000 ha by 2008 and up to 100,000ha by 2020. However, strong doubts exist about the credibility of these figures due to generally lacking resources (such as land and water), the competition for resources arising from the production of other food and cash crops, and the possible negative impact on (agro-) biodiversity.
The Cashew Value Chain and Marketing in Ghana
Value Chain Map and Description of Stakeholders involved the aim of measures promoting cashew value chains in agribusiness is to generate greater added value within a country or region and to improve the competitiveness of locally produced cashews in national and international markets. Value addition regarding cashews is achieved both at the processing and packaging stage. The key criterion in this context is one of broad impact, i.e. growth that benefits the rural poor to the greatest possible extent or at least does not worsen their position relative to other demographic groups (GTZ, 2006). Thus, adding value to commodities produced for export and domestic markets (like cashews) is believed to generate substantial profits and employment along the chain and, in this way, contributes to poverty alleviation. Pro-poor growth is one of the most commonly quoted objectives of value chain promotion.
Input suppliers: Provide producers with specific inputs such as seedlings, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, processing equipment, and packaging materials. Seed dealers/nurseries are found only in a few cashew producing areas. Some big agrochemical dealers are located in Greater Accra (Dizengoff, Agrimat, Chemico, Aglow, Kurama Co. Ltd), while smaller dealers operate throughout the country. They sometimes offer information on the use of chemicals to producers.
Cashew producers: Production is mostly carried out by smallholder farmers (88%) who are usually organized into associations. Most of these producers rely on family labor or hired labor, especially for weeding and harvesting activities.
Processors: Value chain addition to cashews is mainly realized at the processing and packaging stage. Th ere are different steps for processing cashews, mostly carried out by different actors and, again, mostly outside of Ghana. As for RCN originating from Ghana, the vast majority are exported to India, where they are converted into plain kernels which are then exported in bulk to markets in developed and emerging countries. There, further processing takes place concerning roasting, salting/seasoning, packaging, and labeling/branding.
The cashew industry in Ghana currently boasts 12 processing companies with a total installed capacity of 2,137t per year. The only medium processing company is Mim Cashew Products which has an installed capacity of 1,000t per year and, as the name implies, is located in Mim. The remainder is small enterprises with an installed capacity ranging from 10 to 250 t per year. These companies process kernels for export, while the bulk of secondary processing takes place around Accra. There are 21 kernel roasting companies operating in different parts of the country. 17 of these are to be found in the Greater Accra Region, three in the Brong-Ahafo Region and one in the Eastern Region. The kernels they roast are sold at hotels, restaurants, and supermarkets. The “Cashew Processing, Marketing and Consumption in West Africa” (USAID, 2007) study concludes that the average retail price of locally processed cashews is highest in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire – higher even than that of imported Asian cashews. If prices cannot be reduced significantly, the local market for cashews will be dominated by imports. Also, Ghanaian producers do not use all of the market channels available within the country effectively. As a result, products do not reach all potential points of sale, and potential buyers or sellers (such as hotels) are underserved.
Distributors: These include local traders, intermediaries, (agents), retailers, and exporters. There are nine local RCN buyers, plus the four foreign companies in operation during the 2008 harvesting season. The agents of these companies purchase RCN by traveling from one marketing center to another.
It is known to do well even in poor, semi-arid, and transitional geographical zones. It grows well in areas with annual total rainfall of between 900mm and 1.400mm and with distinctive wet and dry seasons. In Ghana, cashew nut in the shell is the leading Non-Traditional Export earner after processed cocoa. The main varieties of the commodity are the following:
- Brazilian variety
- Tanzania variety
- Benin Variety
These varieties are of high quality and taste and are produced largely by medium and small-scale farmers in the rural areas mostly using organic production methods. The sector is well organized with sufficient infrastructural support, haulage, production inputs, and more importantly the support of the government in the area of finance, policy, and infrastructure.
Why Import Ghana’s Cashew
Importing Ghanaian cashew will give you several great advantages:
- Consistency of supply of large volumes of the commodity
- The certainty of supply of high-quality cashew all year round
- Very strong sector associations supporting regulations and certification compliance
- Most big companies producing and exporting crushed cashew have certifications
- Deliberate government interventions to strengthen and boost the supply base
- The well-developed value chain of the commodity
Uses of cashew
The cashew kernel is a rich source of fat (46 percent) and protein (18 percent) and is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. It has a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, in particular, the essential fatty acid linoleic acid. The tart apple is a source of vitamin C, calcium, and iron. The bark, leaves, gum, and shell are all used in medicinal applications. The leaves and bark are commonly used to relieve toothache and sore gums and the boiled water extract of the leaf or bark is used as a mouthwash. A paste of bark ground in water is used in topical applications for the cure of ringworm; in this form, it can however act as an irritant and should not be applied to sensitive skin or children. The root has been used as a purgative. Fibers from the leaves can be used to strengthen fishing lines and nets and as folk remedies for calcium deficiency and intestinal colic, as well as a vitamin supplement. The water-resistant wood is used for boats and ferries, while the resin, in addition to having industrial uses, is used as an expectorant, cough remedy and insect repellent
Uses of Cashew Nut
The cashew nut kernel is constituted of three different portions namely the shell, the kernel, and the adhering testa. The primary product of cashew nuts is the kernel, which is the edible portion of the nut and is consumed in three ways: directly by the consumer, as roasted and salted nuts, in confectionery and bakery products, for example, finely chopped kernels are used in the production of sweets, ice creams, cakes, and chocolates, both at home and industrially and as a paste to spread on bread. The relative importance of these uses varies from year to year and country to country, but it is estimated that at least 60 percent of cashew kernels are consumed as salted nuts. Separately packed cashew nuts are a good selling line, mainly as an appetizer to cocktail drinks. Salted cashews are part of the snack food market. They compete mainly with other nuts, although chips, salted popcorn, and other savory snacks can impinge on the nut market. The price of cashew nuts is much higher than the price of peanuts or other snacks so those sales must be based on a strong taste preference by the consumer. Cashew nuts are generally considered a luxury product and an element of their appeal may lie in this status.
Uses of Cashew Nut Shell Liquid
The cashew nutshell contains a vicious and dark liquid, known as cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL), which is extremely caustic. It is contained in the thin honeycomb structure between the soft outer skin of the nut and the harder inner shell. The CSNL content of the raw nut varies between 20 and 25 percent. Cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL) is an important and versatile industrial raw material. There are more than 200 patents for its industrial application, in particular, its use as raw material for phenolic resins and friction powder for the automotive industry (brake linings and clutch disks). In drum-brake lining compounds, cashew resins are used as fillers and may also be used as binders. In disc pads, the role of cashew resin is restricted to the use of friction dust as filler. The advantage of the cashew resins compared with synthetic phenolic resins is that they are more economical and produce a softer material, which gives a quieter braking action (CTCS, 1993). CNSL is also used in moldings, acid-resistant paints, foundry resins, varnishes, enamels, and black lacquers for decorating vases and as insecticides and fungicides. In tropical medicine, CNSL has been used in treating leprosy, elephantiasis, psoriasis, ringworm, warts, and corns. Like cashew nuts, CNSL also has an excellent international market and its imports have reached almost US$10 million annually, corresponding to the sale of the raw liquid. However, the exporting country would earn much more foreign currency if manufactured products were exported. After extracting the CNSL, the cashew nut shells can be burned to provide heat for the decorticating operation or can be used in the manufacture of agglomerates. Together with the testa, it may be used either in the manufacture of dyestuff or to provide durability to hammocks and fishing lines.
Uses of Cashew Apple
In cashew-producing countries, the nut is only one of the products enjoyed by the local populations. The cashew “apple” or false fruit is an edible food rich in vitamin C. It can be dried, canned as a preserve, or eaten fresh from the tree. It can also be squeezed for fresh juice, which can then be fermented into cashew wine, which is a very popular drink in West Africa. In parts of India, it is used to distill cashew liquor referred to as feni. In some parts of South America, local inhabitants regard the apple, rather than the nut kernel, as a delicacy. In Brazil, the apple is used to manufacture jams and soft and alcoholic drinks. The cashew tree bears a false fruit known as the cashew apple from which the nut protrudes. The cashew apple is between three and five inches long and has a smooth, shiny skin that turns from green to bright red, orange, or yellow in color as it matures. It has a pulpy, juicy structure, with a pleasant but strong astringent flavor. The cashew apple is very rich in vitamin C (262 mg/100 ml of juice) and contains five times more vitamin C than an orange. A glass of cashew apple juice meets an adult individual’s daily vitamin C (30 mg) requirement. The cashew apple is also rich in sugars and contains considerable amounts of tannins and minerals, mainly calcium, iron, and phosphorous. Furthermore, the fruit has medicinal properties. It is used for curing scurvy and diarrhea and it is effective in preventing cholera. It is applied for the cure of neurological pain and rheumatism. It is also regarded as a first-class source of energy. Until recently, the potential of cashew apple had not been investigated due to its highly astringent and acrid taste which is believed to originate in the waxy layer of the skin and which causes tongue and throat irritation after eating. Cashew fruit can be made suitable for consumption by removing the undesirable tannins and processing the apples into value-added products, such as juices, syrups, canned fruits, pickles, jams, chutneys, candy, and toffee. The recommended methods for removing the astringent properties of the cashew apple include steaming the fruit for five minutes before washing it in cold water, boiling the fruit in salt water for five minutes, or adding gelatin solution to the expressed juice. The fruit should be picked from the tree by hand to avoid bruising the delicate flesh. They are then carefully washed and the nuts are removed for processing. Cashew apples should be processed within two to three hours of picking since they undergo rapid deterioration when kept for a longer time. Currently, only six percent of cashew apple production is exploited, since the producer only has a guaranteed market for cashew nuts. It is also extremely difficult to use the whole fruit commercially as the apple ripens before the nut. The quality of nuts detached from the green fruit is unacceptable for commercialization. The ripe apple can be eaten or used for jam making, for the production of fruit juices or for making alcoholic beverages. The development of processing options for the cashew apple has also been limited by its high degree of perishability and consequent difficulties in transportation from growing areas to distant processing plants.