Agriculture is the predominant sector in Ghana’s economy. It contributes to 22% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs about 45% of the labour force. The cashew sub-sector has gained momentum as recognition from the State is gradually increasing. Cashew is a major source of income for thousands of small-holder farmers and supports farmers’ livelihoods especially during the lean season. Although cashew grows in seven out of the ten regions of Ghana, it is mostly found in the Brong Ahafo and the Northern Regions. In 2011, productivity levels were approximately 519 kg per hectare. Total production in 2012 was 20,000 tonnes and 50,000 tonnes in 2013. Currently productivity rate stands at about 700-800kg per hectare. One factor which may be contributing to the high yields in Ghana is the source and quality of planting materials. Farmers have reported using planting materials from government and research institutions which are mostly improved varieties. There are a number of processing plants mainly based in the Brong Ahafo Region. However, these factories are often confronted with challenges in acquiring constant supply of raw cashew nuts. Ghana therefore has to intensify efforts to boost production and to support the activities of processing plants to increase their competiveness in the international market.

What did ACi achieve in its first phase? An excerpt

ACi trained 37,500 Ghanaian farmers and 235 trainers of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Over 10,000 farmers are organized into associations and linked to Fair Trade, organic and conventional markets. The initiative supported five cashew processing factories with technical assistance and thus helped create nearly 1,000 jobs. ACi also invested in the production of improved planting material and assisted in the creation of seedling production centres with an overall capacity of 100,000 seedlings.

What is ACi focussing on in its second phase?

Until its second phase, ACi has trained over 40,409 cashew farmers in two different training sessions on good agricultural practices with an adoption rate of about 72%. 265 participants, out of which 67 are women, have been trained in seedling grafting and top-working. The initiative is currently facilitating the creation of more than 3,750 hectares of cashew plantations with improved planting material.

ACi promotes intercropping and beekeeping activities on cashew orchardsfor income diversification and to increase productivity. A Beekeeping study conducted in Ghana and Benin showed an improvement in productivity where bees were incorporated into the cashew farms. The RCN yield per tree for each season consequently increased from 4.2kg to 8.0kg with a total annual income of a cashew farm with beekeeping activities being $591.74 ha per year. 80 cashew farmers and beekeepers have taken part in the pilot project in Ghana. 

The Cashew Matching Fund, an innovative initiative introduced in the second phase, continues to support collaboration between the private and the public sector in the cashew value chain. Through the Cashew Matching Fund, public research institutions work on the development of improved planting material for future African cashew crops and on the establishment of knowledge exchange networks. The private sector is encouraged to assist in the production and distribution of 300, 000 seedlings in five regions of Ghana.

In 2014, 10 ‘Master Trainers’ graduated from the first edition of the Master Training Programme.  The programme seeks to bring together a pool of regional experts for local and regional knowledge dissemination. Since graduating, the Master Trainers have been engaged in a pilot socio-economics study to assess the impact of ACi intervention on poverty and wealth distribution in the study communities. For the second edition of the Master Training Programme, 8 participants have been selected to take part in all three sessions of the programme.  

ACi continues to promote the sustainable organization of the cashew sector and is currently supporting the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and other national stakeholders in the development of a Master Plan for the Ghanaian Cashew sector.




Competitive Cashew initiative (ComCashew)
32, Nortei Ababio Street 
Airport Residential Area

Ann-Christin Berger 








Country Report March 2013 | Ghana


Study - Poverty Impact Assessment | April 2010 (PDF, 4 MB)