Deputy Majority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Banda in the Brong Ahafo Region, Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim, has jabbed the Trade Ministry for taking 'weak and illegal directives 'which is gradually hurting the cashew industry in the Brong Ahafo and the Northern Regions.
According to the legislator, the sector has suffered a major price reduction from Ghc.4.50 per kilo to Ghc 2.50 kilo within one week, ostensibly as a result of a directive of the Minister for Trade and Industry.
He bemoaned the Trade Ministry's move in a statement he read on the floor of Parliament.
"The cashew sector holds much promise and potential. Cashew productivity and rural employment can offer and indeed is offering increasing income to the poor and provide food security and income diversification to the vulnerable communities like Sampa, Banda, Hani, Debibi, Wenchi, Kintampo, Techiman, Bole Bamboi and so on. But the directive given by the Ministry which prohibits cashew farmers from importing raw cashew has affected and is killing the industry. The Ministry directive is very weak and illegal. Under what law is the Ministry going to confiscate raw cashew nut without due process? "
The incensed MP further said, “the cashew industry is a private sector with a liberalized environment. This has attracted most of the youth into the cashew production due to high prices as a result of competition between local processing companies and other foreign counterparts. If we want to protect the few processing companies in the country, it must not be at the expense of the poor farmers who constitute the majority."
He further noted that the Ministry has brought untold hardship to the poor farmers in several ways . The MP explained that the timing of the directive is wrong as most traders have already pre-financed farmers. Ibrahim also cited lack of education on the policy , saying there is the need for proper education and sensitization for such policies.
He also pointed out that there was the need for policy makers to study other alternative policies of the cashew industry to help the situation.
He also prayed the House to call the Minister of Trade and Industry to suspend his directive as a matter of urgency.
In a sharp response, Deputy Minority leader and Member of Parliament for Bimbila, Mr. Dominic Bingab Aduna Nitiwul said the Deputy Majority Chief Whip could have handled the issue with the Minister personally and that it is unnecessary to have brought it to the floor of Parliament. "This is a clear indication that there is a huge confusion in the ruling NDC."
Adding his voice to the motion, MP for Tain, also in the Brong Ahafo Region, Mr. Kwesi Agyeman Gyan-Tutu suggested the Ministry of Trade work with the local farmers to form a cashew marketing board.
MP for Sekondi, Paapa Owusu Ankomah, said the Ministry's directive contradicts the Importers and Exporters Act, section 13 and article 11 (7) of the 1992 constitution.
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