The government has been urged to encourage private sector investment in the oil palm industry for the country to maximise the industrialisation potential of the commodity.
Mr Nicholas Issaka Gbana, Programme Manager of the Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme (SWAPP), who made the call, said the industry, if supported, could produce for export, local consumption, create jobs and boost economic growth.
He was speaking at the opening of a five-day technical capacity training in the oil palm value chain held at Fumesua, in the Ashanti Region, for 25 facilitators from five agricultural institutions in the country.
Facilitated by Ghana Skill and Development Initiative (GSDI), the event had participants from the University College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (UCAES), Bunso, in the Eastern Region and Asuansi Technical Institute, Asuansi, in the Central Region.
Others were from Father Dogli Memorial Vocational/Technical Institute, New Ayaomah, Oti Region, Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Domeabra, Ashanti Region, and Kpando Technical Institute, Kpando, Volta Region.
The programme has targeted 19, 000 beneficiaries, including 16, 000 farmers, 2,000 women and 1,000 youth in Ashanti, Eastern, Western, Western North Central, Volta and Oti regions, where oil palm production is dominant.
It is centered on the large-scale adoption of the sustainable intensification of oil palm cultivation and fresh fruit processing in West Africa’s small, and medium enterprises, through active private sector participation.
Mr Gbana cited the example of Indonesia, which had invested heavily in oil palm production, propagated by the private sector for years, and advised that, the country could emulate that to turn around Ghana’s fortunes.
He stated that, the training which was under SWAPP, implemented by Solidaridad West Africa, was in its second phase and it was expected to end in 2021 with much focus on oil palm agronomy and agribusiness as well as processing along the lines of small scale enterprises.
Mr Leonard Dogbey, Team Leader of GSDI, said the curricular for Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) was designed to satisfy the requirements of the Council for Technical and Vocational Educational Training.
He explained that, ATVET was an alternative to traditional school-based education in agriculture that focused more on practical lessons than theory, which was perfect for the training.
FROM FAUSTINA KWABEA OSEI, FUMESUA