Ghana’s biggest cashew processing company has received Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other essential health supplies from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the German Development Cooperation.
The donation forms part of measures put in place by the Competitive Cashew Initiative (ComCashew), which is funded by the German and Swiss governments, amongst others, and implemented by GIZ, to support actors in the cashew value chain fight the current pandemic.
The items will enable USIBRAS, a factory with about 750 workers, to implement social distancing protocols, and protect the welfare of their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Other cashew processors in Ghana will also be supported in the coming weeks.
Observing appropriate social distancing, the short handing over ceremony was attended by the Swiss Ambassador, H.E. Philipp Stalder; the Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy, Madam Dorothee Dinkelaker; the Country Director of GIZ Ghana, Madam Regina Bauerochse; the Deputy Executive Director of ComCashew, Mr. Florian Winckler, among others.
Speaking at the event, H.E. Philipp Stalder acknowledged that the COVID-19 crisis has changed our lives dramatically and severely affected global trade. He stated that “…I am more than pleased that Switzerland who is a reliable partner for Ghana for many decades and is active through various channels in the cashew sector, is able to contribute with this modest contribution. Our support through ComCashew is hopefully contributing to see to it that jobs in the cashew industry can be preserved.”
Despite the challenges, Ambassador Stalder was full of hope and confidence that the situation was not here to stay and will eventually pass over as the great depression of the last century did. The Ambassador also reiterated his country’s continuous support for the cashew sector by adding that “our support will continue as planned in areas like better cashew sector regulation, improvement of local processing and our engagement in the ATVET activities in the cashew value chain alongside other cash crop projects.”
Also speaking at the handing over ceremony, the Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy, Madam Dorothee Dinkelaker added, “we acknowledge the challenges and downsides of the pandemic but we also would like you to see it as an opportunity to see things differently. “It is our joy to contribute to your work through the donation of these items as you provide jobs in the local economy. This, we believe, will improve livelihoods and sustain livelihoods for many people.”
She concluded by encouraging all partners to continue working together towards further enhancing the sustainability and competitiveness of the sector.
In his acceptance speech, the CEO of USIBRAS, Mr Patricio Assis mentioned that the items came in at a time when they needed it. “For us, this is a big contribution because it came at a time when we needed it, and when I see acts like this, of solidarity, it shows that the best way to fight the virus is with togetherness”.
He went on to thank the parties involved and assured them that the items will be used for their intended purpose.