The 35 million dollar private sector company that was constructed a couple of years ago with installed capacity of 35,000 metric tonnes is currently producing only 20 per cent of its capacity – mainly due to inadequate supply of cashew.
The only major cashew processing company in the country, USIBRAS requires adequate and regular supplies of raw materials to remain in business.
Mr Tarciso Falcao, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company made this known when Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry and Madam Irene Vida Gala, Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana paid a working visit to the company at Prampram in the Greater Accra Region, Ghanaweb reported. Among the delegation were technocrats from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Explaining the challenges of the company, Mr Falcao said la Cote D ‘Ivoire, which is the highest producer of the commodity in the sub-region with 700,000 tonnes had stopped supplying the company with the nuts, the news agency added.
This followed the neighbouring country’s ban of export of the commodity.
The company has 541 workers and could increase the number if it receives adequate and reliable supply of cashew.
The CEO said Ghana’s raw cashew total production is at 7,000 tonnes. He said the governments of Burkina Faso and Benin who are also major suppliers may be bracing up to ban the export of the commodity to Ghana.
A large opportunity exists for farmers and others who have interest in farming to venture into the cultivation of cashew for supply to the company. Traders can as well engage in the business by buying directly from small scale cashew farmers and selling to the company.
The CEO assured the public that he will continue to ensure that his outfit receives adequate supplies to sustain the processing plant in Ghana, but did not discount the idea of importing raw materials. “If it finally becomes very difficult to acquire more raw materials, we will not mind importing from Brazil although it will be much more expensive.”
Ghana has arable lands that support the cultivation of several crops including cashew. To engage in this business, farmers and traders are advised to contact Usibras to obtain sufficient information and technical training, especially those looking to grow it on large scale. You may need to get a business plan if you are looking to obtain a loan or invite investors to join you in the cashew business.