GHANA – Vakpo Dzogbega, located in the North Dayi District of the Volta Region and owned by the Bui Power Authority, is facing the loss of over 100 acres of the country’s largest cashew farm spanning 1000-acres, over a fire outbreak.

The destruction, estimated at GHC1.5 million (USD 79,600), unfolded when a fierce fire engulfed the farm on Friday, February 16, leaving more than 4,000 matured cashew trees in ruins.

Mr. Patrick Denka, the Assistant Farm Manager, shared insights with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), expressing the devastating impact of the incident. He lamented, “The fire came at a time the trees had begun to bear fruit.”

Suspecting the involvement of hunters, he pointed out that the few trees that might survive the blaze would likely yield significantly lower in the future.

The fire, starting around 1500 hours, razed through the expansive farm, leaving a trail of destruction. The GNA’s on-site observations revealed a grim scene with many trees bearing ripe fruits completely burnt, and some embers still smoldering.

Mr. Kofi Dzamesi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Bui Power Authority and farm owner, expressed concern over the setback in the region’s agrarian development.

He stated, “Losses from the fire could reach GHC1.5 million,” highlighting the need for immediate intervention to prevent such occurrences.

The incident has been reported to the police, and Mr. Dzamesi is hopeful that with the support of traditional leaders, preventive measures will be implemented.

Speaking on the lack of insurance cover for crop farmers, Mr. Dzamesi called on the Government to step in and support large-scale farms against fire and other losses.

He emphasized, “It is difficult to get insurance companies to insure farms, and so the State must come in to support large scale farms.”

Hope amidst loss: Prospects for Ghana’s cashew sector in 2024

As Ghana grapples with the aftermath of the devastating fire on the cashew farm, there is a glimmer of hope for the country’s cashew sector in 2024.

Despite facing challenges such as the poor quality of Raw Cashew Nuts (RCNs) and misuse of agrochemicals, experts foresee potential revenue generation, job creation, and economic empowerment, especially for women farmers.

In an interview at Seikwa in the Bono Region, Solomon Ameyaw, a merchant of RCN operating in the Tain District, emphasized the need for cashew farmers to focus on producing high-quality nuts.

 Addressing challenges in the cashew value chain, he noted that raising awareness and conforming to standards can mitigate issues affecting product quality.

“We have to keep the momentum that is building up with awareness creation on how our cashew farmers will produce high-quality RCNs to meet the demand of the global market,” stated Mr. Ameyaw.

He highlighted the importance of adhering to standards to enhance the competitiveness of locally produced Raw Cashew Nuts on the international market, fostering a robust industry.

While efforts are underway to obtain high-quality nuts from Ghana, Mr. Ameyaw acknowledged that there is still work to be done in raising awareness about the quality of RCNs within the cashew value chain.

“We have to put structures in place to improve and manage the quality of RCNs to bring sanity in pricing the commodity,” he added.

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