In central Ghana’s Brong Ahafo region, the Busunya Cashew Farmers’ Group exemplifies how capacity development can positively impact farming communities.
In 2010, the African Cashew Initiative formed the farmers’ group with the goal of improving the farmers’ competitiveness. The association faced challenges because it lacked a constitution and a clear strategy. Its members had little understanding of officer duties and responsibilities. And they didn’t keep records or collect dues. Due to these challenges, the association’s members were vulnerable to fraud. Its leaders were unable to form contracts to secure good markets for their produce, resulting in missed business opportunities.
Enter Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer Corine Quarterman, who shared her expertise and helped the association gain capacity-building skills. Corine assisted the group as it developed bylaws and a manual system of recordkeeping. She made recommendations for a new board of directors, a dues payment process, and committees for technical support, business, and marketing.
Following Corine’s recommendations, the group now works with a key local buyer and has been able to negotiate a significant, two-fold price increase for their cashews: 3 Ghana cedis (GHC) per kilo now, instead of 1.5 GHC per kilo. This means higher incomes for group members. The organization now rents a warehouse where members store their harvest in bulk. This new development has increased the group’s sales and profit margin by 50 percent ($15,083 to $30,167), as members can be more strategic about selling. As a result, more farmers are eager to join the association. “F2F has opened our eyes,” said Chairman J. K. Amoah. “Indeed, we threw money away over the years.”