The Kwadaso Agricultural College, in Kumasi, is working with the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands to roll out a horticulture vocational training programme to train Ghanaians to become entrepreneurs in the field of vegetable production.
Funded with a European Commission grant of about 600,000 Euros, the Ghana Archipelago Horticulture Project would, among others, help raise awareness on the potential of the horticulture sector and contribute to the prosperity of the sector.
Beneficiaries include young people wishing to become business practitioners in the horticulture value chain; farmers; and agricultural companies or farms.
A Centre of Excellence in Horticulture with Green/Net houses and modern technology for farming would thus be created at the Kwadaso Agric College Campus.
Dubbed, “Horticulture in Ghana for a Brighter Future”, the project will be implemented jointly by the Dutch Embassy in Ghana, VDS a’campo, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Kwadaso Municipal Assembly and the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority.
The project is expected to increase local employment opportunities and boost food security in Ghana.
At an inception meeting, Ms Lindsey Schwidder, the Project Coordinator from the Delft University of Technology, said it was to help match the enormous demand for labour and growing opportunities in the horticulture sector.
Mr Emmanuel Soubiran, Programme Officer, Governance Section, Delegation of the European Union to Ghana, at the EU Country office, in Accra, hosted the meeting.
The meeting brought together various stakeholders, including representatives of the Ghana Skills Development Initiative, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Holland GreenTech, SNV, KNUST and the Kwadaso Agric College, to explore possible linkages that could support the implementation of the horticulture programme.
Ms Schwidder explained that the two-year training program would be developed and implemented in close collaboration with selected private lead farmers and agricultural companies in Ghana.
“This programme will be formulated and implemented by Ghanaian lead farmers with support from a Dutch-Ghanaian team; and training of trainers at the Kwadaso Agricultural College, including entrepreneurship training for students and farmers alike”.
There would be job placement opportunities through close collaboration among the College the EU and Ghanaian private sector.
Mr Frank Ohene Annor, a Lecturer at KNUST and a postdoctoral researcher at the Delft University of Technology, said they would call for applications for those interested to pursue it.
Currently, a needs assessment that started in December 2019 is ongoing while a curriculum with a strong bias (about 80 per cent) for practical horticulture training was being developed to complement the existing curriculum at the Kwadaso Agric College, Mr Annor explained.
“It is our anticipation that the first batch of students will be recruited to start the training at the College in July 2020,” he also stated.
The Reverend Benjamin Asante Mensah, the Principal of the Kwadaso Agricultural College, welcomed the venture, saying it would help the students to come out as already-made entrepreneurs, ready to supply tasty vegetables to Ghanaians and the international market.