A two-week digital training programme aimed at building the capacity of selected oil palm processing companies to understand and adopt the requirements of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification in Ghana is underway.

Among the participants are small and medium oil palm processing companies who would be trained to attain the RSPO certification, a global standard that assures consumers of a good quality palm oil produced in a sustainable manner, a release from Solidaridad copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday said.

The training is being organized by Solidaridad, an international civil society organization, and it is expected to benefit 38 beneficiaries who would be taken through the Ghana National Interpretation of the RSPO Principles and Criteria, how to conduct a baseline assessment, develop action plans and prepare smallholder farmers towards certification.

The training is being organized in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Ghana, through its Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP), being implemented with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the training is being offered via Whatsapp, Google Hangouts and Google Classroom platforms.

Facilitators are using WhatsApp, a text and voice messaging application, to give general information to the trainees, while the training contents would be delivered on Google Classroom, an online teaching and learning platform.

The release said Solidaridad was organizing the training under the second phase of the Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Programme (SWAPP II), which seeks to transform the oil palm sector in West Africa through ensuring sustainable production by building the capacity and increasing the incomes of farmers, processors and other workers in the oil palm value chain.

“As consumer goods manufacturers commit to buying only RSPO certified crude palm oil effective 2020, Ghana cannot afford to be left out of the sustainable palm oil supply chain.

“This is why Solidaridad is preparing the oil palm processing companies to meet the requirements,” the release quoted Ms Rosemary Addico, Oil Palm Programme Manager for Solidaridad West Africa.

“Even though we have to adjust our regular mode of delivering training due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are happy to note that the participants are eager to learn and actively participate in all discussions,” she added.

Commending Solidaridad for the initiative, Mr Isaac Ampofo, Managing Director of Nat-K Royal Company Limited, a beneficiary of the training, said they are excited at the prospect of meeting RSPO standards, which would lead to the expansion of their market base.

Following the training, the UNIDO would provide experts to work with the oil palm processing companies to bridge the gaps identified during the individual baseline assessments after the E-training.

The SWAPP, which is in its second phase of implementation, is funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana, Benin and Togo through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

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