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A research on economic potentials of cashew fruits has revealed that the fruit is rich in vitamin C and could be processed into various fruit juices such as cashew apple and cereal juices.
The research conducted by the Food Research Institute, one of the 13 research institutes of the Council for Scientific and Research Institute (CSRI), also indicated that most of cashew tress in Ghana were cut down to grow mango trees as a result of less patronage of the fruits.
Mrs Nina B Ackah, Project Co-ordinator, Economic Potential of cashew fruit Project, said there were a number of economic uses of cashew, which still lacked exposure and patronage in the country.
She said people did not patronise the fruit because of the tannin taste and most them were wasted, hence the project to find other economic potentials of the product.
“Observation shows that in many of the cashew farms in the country, a lot of the fleshy apple and some nuts are left to go waste. In addition, the fruit has a very delicate skin which makes it highly perishable and unstable for transportation,” she added.
She said with economic empowerment of farmers in mind, the study aimed at transforming Ghana’s cashew sector from a low-priced commodity to an exporter of high cashew products in the near future.
Mrs Ackah said to make that a reality, the project had developed three shelf stable products which would maximise the utilisation of cashew fruits in Ghana.
She mentioned capital including infrastructure and equipment; skilled labour, adequate supply of raw materials and utilities such as liquefied petroleum gas, electricity from the national grid or other alternatives like solar energy, and regular water supply as some requirements for the production of cashew apple products.
She said the location of the processing site was critical as the further away it was from production sites, the more expensive the final product would be due to the cost of transportation and the loss of fruits as a result of deterioration during transit.
Most of the participants expressed the need to entice the youth and women into cashew farming as the farmers, mostly male are old and would soon retire from the farming.
The total export revenue realised from cashew in 2016 was 244.5 million dollars making the commodity the leading non-traditional crop export revenue generator in Ghana.