The Ghana Agriculture and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) has held an editors’ forum in Accra to encourage increased media focus on the cashew sector.
The forum, which came off on Monday, May 11, 2020, at the Paloma Hotel in Accra, was part of a cashew visibility project by the GARDJA which seeks to build knowledge of media persons on cashew sector and expose them to newsworthy issues in the sector.
The Deputy General Secretary of the GARDJA, Joseph Opoku Gakpo, explained “the initiative also seeks to expose media persons to practical issues militating against the development of the cashew sector and draw their attention to recent policy developments in the cashew sector.
“The project also seeks to put cashew industry players such as farmers directly in touch with media practitioners and publicise cashew sector issues to members of the public,” Mr Gakpo said in a presentation to the editors.
Despite being a major contributor to Ghana’s economy with more than 125,000 farmers growing the crop, the sector is facing varied challenges including low local processing and declining farmer price. But unlike cocoa, very little conversations are happening around the cashew crop.
The deputy general secretary explained that the GARDJA cashew visibility initiative will work to ensure the Ghanaian public had access to more and better investigative reports on cashew sector sustainability issues on radio, online, newspaper and TV. It will ensure the voice of cashew farmers and processors will be heard on the challenges facing the industry.
“Through the initiative, media houses will contribute to informed public debate on the cashew industry and journalists will be able to hold the government accountable for their actions and words on the cashew industry,” he added.
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr Affail Money told the gathering the GJA was proud of the initiative being rolled out by the GARDJA, describing it as a laudable one.
The General Secretary of the Cashew Farmers Association of Ghana, Clement Anane, who was present at the forum, said cashew farmers were facing various challenges including pest attacks on their farms. He called for more support from the media to deal with these difficulties.
The President of the Cashew Processors, Ghana, Ed-Malvin Nii Ayibonte Smith, said cashew processors are also facing a lot of challenges including inadequate financing and high operational cost. He also called for support of the media to deal with these challenges.
The President of the GARDJA, Richmond Frimpong, assured that initiatives including field trips, workshops and bursary support for journalists will be rolled out soon to encourage increased media attention on the cashew sector.