Ghanaian Raw Cashew Nut Market Guide

Raw Cashew Nut

Production Supply Chain

Which Are the Main Financial Institutions Providing Support for the Cashew Industry in Ghana?

Agricultural Development Banks, Rural Banks, National Investments Bank, ECOBANK, Merchant Bank and other Commercial Banks are the main financial institutions providing support for the cashew industry in Ghana.

The Government of Ghana has given priority to the cashew sector, more specifically through the Cashew Development Project of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The have given training and technical advice on cashew production to more  45,000 farmers over the past few years.

Trade Overview

What Are the Main Industrial Crops in Ghana?

1. Cocoa

Ghana is the second-largest producer of cocoa in the world with a 2019 production of 850,000 tons. Cocoa provides the second-largest source of total export earnings, representing 30% of GDP. The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) determines the domestic buying price of cocoa beans and the purchasing season as a way to monitor and regulate the operations of the cocoa industry in Ghana. 

COCOBOD currently purchases a ton of cocoa at GHS 8,240 (GHS 515 per bag). Cocoa is grown in the Ashanti, Eastern, Western, Western North, Ahafo, Bono, Bono East, and Volta regions represented by families, communities, or cooperatives.Cocoa is mainly processed for export but there is a relatively small domestic market for Ghanaian finished cocoa products.

This is predominantly supplied by Golden Tree (the Ghana Cocoa Processing Company for confectionery and cosmetic products), Nestle, and Unilever (chocolate and drink products).

2. Coffee

Ghana is the third-largest coffee producer in sub-Saharan African just behind Liberia and the Central Africa Republic. Ghana produced 735 tons of coffee in 2018. Coffee is grown in the Ashanti, Bono, Ahafo, Eastern, Central, and Volta regions of Ghana. Coffee yield in Ghana was estimated at 2.0 tons per hectare in 2014. 12,250 tons of green coffee were exported in 2015 and currently, there is a 65% supply deficit that needs to be filled.

Through effective regulations and stakeholder engagements, the average farm-gate price of coffee rose from GHS 40 per 65 KG in 2010 to GHS 250 per 65 KG in 2016. In addition, under good farm management practices, an average net income of about GHS 6, 988.30 (US$ 1,767.50) per hectare is estimated to be obtained by the farmer.

Currently, there are 30 Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) registered to engage in internal purchasing and exports of coffee in Ghana. There are about 10 major roasters of Coffee in Ghana. Regulatory bodies for the coffee industry are COCOBOD, CRIG, and International Coffee Organization.

3. Shea

The Shea industry in Ghana is as old as the cocoa industry. Northern Ghana is the farm belt of shea and its products. The shea industry is currently dominated by women and children who pick and process shea into nuts for sale directly, or as butter on a small scale. The industry is currently assuming a large-scale commercial status with the advent of large-scale shea (nut and butter) buyers and exporters who have in recent years discovered the high value of shea on the international market and are cashing in on it as quickly as possible.

Ghana is currently collecting 130,000 metric tons of shea nuts but has the capacity to do 200,000. Ghana recorded USD 33,572,000 in value of exported processed or industrial shea nuts.

The most active stakeholders in the shea industry are Civil Society Groups comprising the Shea Dealers Associations in all the regions of Northern Ghana, individuals as well as NGOs such as SNV, a Dutch Development Organization, TechnoServe, a US-oriented Food Security organization, the Association of Church Development Projects (ACDEP) and its subsidiary, Savanna Farmers Marketing Company, Ghana Nuts, and PBC.

4. Oil Palm

Oil Palm is the most important edible oil crop in Ghana and in the whole West Africa region. Oil Palm and palm kernel oil represent 2% of the total agricultural production value of Ghana. Ghana exported USD 71.3 million worth of oil palm in 2018. The most suitable areas identified for oil palm cultivation are the Western, Central, and Eastern regions. Large nucleus estates are sited in these regions. The total area under oil palm cultivation is 300,000 hectares. The average yield is 6.3 tons. Major exporters of Crude Palm Oil are Wilmar Africa Ltd, Avnash Industries Ghana Ltd, Praise Export Services Ltd, Ghana Oil Palm Development Company Ltd, etc.

5. Coconut

Ghana is endowed with the ideal climatic conditions for increased production of coconut for both domestic and foreign markets. It is usually grown in smallholder plantations in 8 out of the 16 regions of the country. The total annual production of coconut currently stands at approximately 229 million pieces of coconuts, equivalent to between 350 and 400 thousand MT (2017). Currently, the majority of coconut is consumed domestically, within Ghana. However, there is currently a deliberate effort by the Ghana Government to promote the expansion of the acreages under coconut cultivation to take advantage of the increasing demand in the international markets. Ghana made about USD 1,808,718 in exports of dried or fresh coconut. Coconut is also processed for its oil and shell used for charcoal. Local processors of coconut are Zaacoal, Makola coconut oil, and GKV investments.

6. Cashew

The Bono, Ahafo, Bono East regions account for about 90% of cashew production and exports in Ghana. Ghana controls 43.8% of global in-shell cashew exports. Ghana produced about 70,000 metric tons in 2016. Cashew exports earned the country USD 981M in 2016. There are about 13 processing companies in Ghana with an installed capacity of 35,000 metric tons per year but they process less than 10% of cashew produced in Ghana because farmers claim they get more value in selling raw cashew on the international market than selling it to local processors. The Kristo Buase monastery is the largest cashew plantation In Ghana.

7. Rubber

Ghana has 19,000 hectares of rubber plantations, including 12,000 hectares of industrial plantations. Out of the 7,000 are village plantations and 3,600 are recently planted plantations. Current production stands at some 12,000 tons a year, ranking Ghana in the fifth position in Africa. Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL) is the rubber production company that owns the largest industrial rubber plantation in the country, controlling 98 percent of the domestic rubber market. It holds a 36-year concession of 15,000 ha, of which 9,034 ha are under tapping (of 13,377 ha are planted). GREL’s processing plant produces 15 MT dry rubber content (DRC) of rubber per annum with 5 TM DRC coming from out-growers.

8. Cotton

The production of cotton in Ghana covers the five northern regions and part of the Bono and Ahafo regions specifically, the Kintampo and Atebubu areas. It is purely done by smallholders (peasants) and an out-grower system, typically featuring a farmer and his household. Cotton production has dropped drastically from 45,000 tons in 1998 to 13,000 in 2017 hence contributing very little to the country's GDP. 

What Is Ghana’s Position in Cashew Nut Production and Market?

Cashew nuts in Ghana are mostly produced by small-scale farmers representing about 85% of the total production. It is estimated that over 70,000 hectares of land in Ghana are used to grow cashew nuts. Some of the cashew nut growing areas include; Ahafo and Bono regions. Ghana currently produces around 85,000 metric tons of raw cashew nuts each year, which accounts for about one percent of the worlds’ total production

 Cashew production in Ghana is primarily intended to meet unique niche demand (for export) and not household consumption, although a small proportion of nuts are processed for local consumption. Almost all of Ghana’s cashew nuts are exported raw. Of this, over 90% is exported to India and Vietnam by Asian exporters and processors.

Recent agricultural development in Ghana has meant cashew export has received considerable attention due to its ability to push non-traditional agricultural exports.

What Countries Are Buying Cashew Nuts From Ghana ?

According to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority ,Ghana exported about US$340.7m of raw cashew in shell to 7 countries across the globe in 2020 alone.

It further notes, Vietnam was the main destination for Ghanaian exports of cashew nuts in shell, representing more than half (58.34%) of all cashews in shell exported to the world in 2020. India was the second largest export destination for cashew nuts in shell from Ghana (41.41% in 2020). China was the third importer of cashew nut in shell with an estimated import value of

US$295 thousand.

Major market destinations for Ghana's cashew (HS Code 080131 in shell) are Vietnam, where total exports amounted to USD 198,763K, and India, consuming USD 141,081K worth of Ghanaian cashew.

Volume of shelled and unshelled cashew nuts exported from Ghana from 2010 to 2020(in metric tons)

The only two countries that received significant amounts of cashew nuts in shell from Ghana are Vietnam and India. In both markets, Ghana is an important supplier, but there is room for

growth.  New and attractive markets for Ghana include China, Saudi Arabia and U.A.E.

Seasonality of Main Producing Regions

What Varieties of Cashew Are Grown in Ghana?

Over at least the last decade, one of Ghana’s most vital breadbaskets has been converted into cashew nut production to feed export markets. Bono East, Bono and the Ahafo regions – previously known as the Brong Ahafo region – are being transformed by cashew production. This growth has positioned Ghana as one of the largest producers of raw cashew nuts in Africa.

The varieties grown in Ghana are Brazilian, Tanzania, and Benin cashew nuts. The Brazilian type is the most common in Ghana. This variety is preferred mostly for its hardiness against weather conditions and crop diseases. In addition, the nut quality is superb and provides high yields. 

Local Logistics

How Is Cashew Collected in Ghana?

Farmers collect the nuts. Big farms hire  people from the local area to do the picking of the nuts. They pay them per kilo picked – for every 10 kilos they collect, they give them the value of one kilogram. Agents from produce buying companies such as Olam buy it from them. The nuts are stored in warehouses owned by the production companies. The warehouses are equipped with drying and packing equipment to allow for the maintenance of the nuts and quick processing for export to customers outside Ghana.

Regulations in Exporting Country

What Are the Export Regulations for Ghanian Raw Cashew Nuts and Cashew Kernels?

According to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, general export procedures are 

"1. Register Business with Registrar General’s Department.

2. Register as an exporting company with Ghana Export Promotion Authority. Pick GEPA Registration *Form, submit the completed form together with photocopies of your registered business certificates. Follow step 3.

3. Contact the appropriate Permit-Issuing Agencies (PIA)* where necessary for inspection of premises and production facilities.

4. The PIA shall submit an inspection report and recommendations to GEPA and copy the exporter. GEPA shall complete the registration process as recommended by the PIA and other Agencies. Certificate is issued to exporter and copy sent to Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)

5. The PIA shall arrange for testing of samples and inspection of consignment to be exported and shall issue an Export Consignment Certificate to cover each shipment.

6. Exporter shall also obtain additional documents where required, such as Certificate of Origin, Phyto-Sanitary Certificate etc.

7. Exporter shall present all relevant documents to GRA Customs at the Exit Point. Customs shall ensure that exporter has all relevant documents before processing products for export.

8. Exporter notifies the importer of the consignment details."

When Is the Export Process for Cashew in Ghana?

The peak season for cashew nuts in Ghana is from January to June. Cashews produce the highest yields when cultivated in fertile sandy and loamy soils. Any altitude from sea level to 1000 m is requisite for the plant to flourish. Temperature requirements are anything from 20°C to 34°C. Cashew nuts take two months to ripen fully. The cashew tree is an evergreen tree that grows in tropical regions. The tall variant of the cashew tree can grow up to 14 meters while the dwarf variant can reach heights of 6 meters. 

Basic Requirements for Export

Any company or enterprise which intends to deal in exportation of exportable goods or items in Ghana must:

-Be registered with the Registrar-General’s Department.

-Be registered with the Ghana Export Promotion Council and obtain a number.

-Get a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) from the Ghana Revenue Authority or a Ghana Card PIN.

Procedure for Traditional Export

-Obtain a Bank of Ghana Exchange Control Form A2 from your bankers.

-Complete the Customs Declaration Form electronically and submit to Customs via the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).

-Attach all relevant documents; Certificates, Permits etc. (for cashew nuts an export permit from the Ghana Cocoa Board is required)

-When the declaration is validated by Customs, present goods to Customs at the Export seat to the Exit Port or Station for Customs Inspection or Examination.

-If Customs is satisfied with the examination, the goods are then released for export.

For in shell cashew nuts, import tariffs for Ghana to India and Sri Lanka are 30%; China also has a high import tariff (20%). Other export destination have 0% with the exception of Vietnam, which has 5% tariff rate.

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