Cashew farmers in the Bole District of the Northern Region are beginning to reap the benefits of business advocacy as they now earn more income from the sale of higher quality cashew nuts on the international market.
Members of the Gbankuliso Cashew Farmers Association (GCFA) have testified that the advocacy skills acquired from the BUSAC Fund support has enabled them to dialogue with key stakeholders to access the services of Agricultural extension officers.
Cashew farmers processing their cashew nuts for sale
"Thanks to the advocacy action, I have been able to learn innovative methods of agro-chemical application and cashew tree pruning, and this has enabled me to gain more yield and income from my cashew farm", remarked Mr. Alfred Simidon, a retired educationist who owns a 27-acre cashew farm at Bamboi.
Cashew farmers within the GCFA are also delighted about the fact that the innovative techniques of cashew cultivation they have learnt is enabling them to produce quality cashew that meets the high standards of the international market, thereby improving their sales and income.
The treasurer of the association, Mr. Kassim Alhassan stated: "Our farmers are now able to produce quality cashew that meets international standards, and this has enabled our association to gain the confidence of Fair Trade, and international organization that currently buys our cashew nuts. Today our farmers can sell their produce on the international market and earn more income."
Mr. Kassim also pointed out that the advocacy action embarked upon by the association has also strengthened the advocacy capacity of its members, which is helping the association to dialogue with policy makers to address the concerns of their industry.
"The advocacy skills we acquired have empowered us to engage policy makers to respond to the needs of our sector. At the moment, we are using these skills to advocate for government to establish a national cashew board that will be responsible for the development of the cashew sector," he noted.
Formed and registered in 2002, the Gbankuliso Cashew Farmers Association (GCFA) is a union of cashew farmers whose cashew cultivation businesses have become less lucrative due to inadequate technical support from Agricultural Extension Officers.
This situation compelled the leadership of the association to apply for an advocacy grant from the BUSAC Fund to enable them engage duty bearers from MOFA, CRIG and the district assembly in talks over the need to bring Agricultural Extension Agents to their aid.
By Ebenezer Kpentey