The European Union (EU) has launched a one million Euro agricultural project to enhance local economic growth and development in the Nkoranza North District of the newly- created Bono East Region.
The four-year project which spans 2019-2022 and targets to improve mushroom production is expected to create new jobs for 1,300 people – 390 women, 858 youth and 52 people with disabilities.
Basic infrastructural development under the project comprise modern agribusiness incubation centre, spawn laboratory and mushroom villages for commercial mushroom production.
The Africa Centre for Development Finance (ACDF), Centre for Posterity Interest Organisation (COPIO) and Community Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are the EU’s local project implementation partners.
Speaking at the launch held at Busunya, Mrs Maria-Luisa Troncoso, the Head of Governance Section of the EU’s delegation to Ghana, said the EU has two main objectives for providing the funding support to the District Assembly.
This, she said, was to promote creation of jobs for the growing numbers of youth and women seeking employment and to strengthen the decentralisation process.
She lauded government for playing the catalytic role in facilitating the growth and development of the private sector as the engine for providing jobs and decent incomes to her populace.
Mrs Troncoso said the EU regarded decentralisation as a way of promoting democracy at the local level and local development outcomes, saying local authorities have the potential to reduce and eliminate inequalities in the society, creating jobs and wealth as well as tackling a range of other pressing development challenges.
It is in the light of the promising role of local authorities that the EU is providing funding for the implementation of the mushroom production and agribusiness development in the district, she said.
Considering their potential to contribute to national development and social stability, Mrs Troncoso said the EU considered job creation for the youth and women as a top priority and would be looking forward to sustaining the positive experiences with the District Assembly.
She said successful cooperation between the Assembly and the project implementing partners as well as other stakeholders such as the private sector and traditional leaders would help to produce the desirable outcomes of the project.
Mrs Gifty Akosah Arthur, the Nkoranza North District Chief Executive, said the Assembly and its partners are very committed to the project adding that the funds would be put to judicious use by creating jobs for the people to make them self-dependent, and also to improve on their socio-economic livelihoods.
She said the district has many tourist attraction sites which included Buabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Bono Manso Water Fall, Pinihin magic caves and the historic Bono Manso slave market, and appealed to the EU to help the Assembly to develop these sites to enhance eco-tourism in the area.
Ms Perfect Gifty Agbley, the Communication and Advocacy Manager of the ACDF, on behalf of the other local project implementation partners, assured the EU of their commitment to facilitate the successful implementation of the project.
She said high unemployment and its attendant repercussions remain the biggest socio-economic challenge facing Ghana and the rest of Africa, and advised the people to appreciate and contribute to the success of the project.