An assessment of the contribution of cashew production to local economic development: a case study of the Brong Ahafo Region

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Effective poverty reduction in Ghana is underpinned by sustainable local economic growth and development. It is for this reason that the Government of Ghana aims to ensure local ownership of development interventions. One way of ensuring local economic development is through the promotion of non-traditional agricultural commodities such as cashew. With the Brong Ahafo Region’s comparative advantage in the production of cashew, the industry has gained currency with several farmers engaged by it. Following this the study sought to assess the contribution of the cashew industry to the local economic development towards poverty reduction. With data from both primary and secondary sources, the study identified that first; the cashew industry has provided employment to about 8,233 people in Jaman North, Tain, Wenchi and Kintampo districts. These farmers received technical and logistical support from MoFA, chiefly under the Cashew Development Project (CDP). A total amount of GH¢2,417,013.00 has been dispensed as credit to about 4,580 farmers towards the CDP between 2004 and 2007. However, the study revealed that the low priced variety is mostly produced in the study areas. Again it was identified that there was no fixed prices for the cashew products like that of Cocoa. The prices of cashew products were rather determined by the forces of demand and supply. For the cashew industry to have improved the economic lives of many of the people in the districts, the study recommended that MoFA should educate and train farmers to use improved cashew seeds and disease resistant varieties. Again, the government should take over the responsibility of fixing the prices of cashew nuts like that of cocoa so that the farmers would be secured even if there is a bumper harvest. Finally, the government could operate a buffer stock system to avoid a situation where supply exceeds demand to force the price down.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning