Project to boost cashew value chain begins
Evelyn Ayeh (1st right), Research Scientist showing Cephas Adjei Mensah (2nd right), Director, Research, Statistics & Information Management, MESTI, Francis Owusu Ansah (3rd right), Chief Business Officer for Opportunity International Savings and Loans Limited, and Dr Charlotte Oduro-Yeboah, Deputy Director of CSIR-FRI some products made from cashew fruits

Project to boost cashew value chain begins

A PROJECT to reduce waste and drive sustainable development in the cashew industry has commenced in Ghana. 


Known as “Maximising Gains from Cashew Production for Youth Development Project (Ma-Cash),” the project will transfer improved technologies to enhance the quality and 
quantity of processed cashew fruits and by-products. 

It will also improve cashew yields through agrobiodiversity and increase the incomes of youth groups successfully running cashew businesses. 

The project is under the sponsorship of the Canada International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI). 

The 18-month project will be carried out in the Bono and Bono East regions with six farmer groups in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research- Food Research Institute (CSIR-FRI) and the Opportunity International Savings and Loans Limited. 

According to the conversation, Ghana, one of Africa’s major producers of cashew nuts currently produces around 85,000 metric tonnes of raw cashew nuts each year, which accounts for about 1% of the world’s total production. 

Of this, over 90% is exported to India and Vietnam by Asian exporters and processors. In 2021, Ghana’s export revenue from cashew nuts was USD 166 million. 

However, about 90% of cashew apples which consist of about 90% of the total weight of cashew fruit are wasted annually due to limited knowledge, lack of processing and harvesting equipment,high perishability among others. 

The apple has found application in food systems such as pure juice, juice blends, jam, syrup, pastries, ethanol, wine and other value-added products in some advanced countries.

Ensuring zero waste

Speaking at an inception workshop on Ma-Cash in Accra, the Director for the CSIR-FRI, Prof. Charles Tortoe said in 2016, with funding from the Agricultural Innovation MKTPlace programme supported by the Brazilian government through MABRAPA, the CSIR-FRI developed techniques for processing cashew fruits into juices, concentrates and drinks with reduced tannins, wine and other food products. 

This, he said was to ensure zero waste in cashews in addition to converting by-products into compost, mushroom production and animal feed. 

“ The CSIR-FRI’s effort to apply research findings to problems about cashew fruit waste, poverty alleviation and youth-led sustainable economic growth has led to the development of the Ma-Cash project,” he said. 

Prof. Tortoe was hopeful that the project would help alleviate poverty among farmers and create jobs for the youth. 

Promoting economic development

A Food Scientist at the CSIR-FRI, Dr Emmanuel Kyereh, explained that the cashew industry had seen some significant growth over the years, however, there is more to do when it comes to the cashew apple. 

He said the Ma-Cash project would leverage existing infrastructure such as processing plants to add value to cashew apples and support farmers in diversifying their income sources. 

This approach, he said, aligned to address challenges in agriculture, while promoting economic development and resilience in rural communities. 

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