Posted: Wednesday 14th May 2014 at 10:42 am

Skills training for farmers, hairdressers in Volta Region

The Council for Technical and Vocational Education Training (COTVET), through the Skills Development Fund (SDF), has designed a training programme for 325 vegetable farmers and 70 hairdressers in the Volta Region.

The project was aimed at enabling the producers to exploit the growing market available – both local and international – to increase their earning power.

Agri-Impact Consult, a private agribusiness consulting firm, and the Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG) were sponsored by the SDF to conduct the training programmes for vegetable farmers while the National Association of Beauticians and Hairdressers were responsible for the training for hairdressers in Ho. Agri-Impact 

Agri-Impact was in charge of training farmers in the Dayi-Afadjato enclave at Vakpo-Adomi in the North Dayi District and VEPEAG was in charge of farmers in the Ketu-South District.

In all, 325 farmers will be trained in batches for six months at Vakpo-Adomi to expand the range of vegetables cultivated to ensure all-year-round production.

The project seeks to empower farmers to produce more to feed a Packhouse at a centre of excellence at Vakpo- New Adomi and to increase the income level of producers. Multimillion-dollar centre

The multimillion-dollar centre of excellence facility had been built for packaging of mangoes, pineapples and vegetables but was currently underutilised, hence the need for the training programme to increase production to feed the Packhouse.

The facility consists of a Packhouse, five greenhouses, lecture rooms, dormitories and staff bungalows constructed at an estimated cost of $2. 2 million.  Cultivation

In an interview, the Executive Director of Agri-Impact Consult, Mr Dan Acquaye, said the cultivation on the open field yielded between 1.5-two metric tonnes but could yield between 10-15 metric tonnes under the intensive technology.

He indicated that the shade net of the intensive technology was 70 per cent cheaper than cultivating under the greenhouse technology.

Mr Acquaye said market for vegetables in Accra and Tema alone was about $402 million per annum, adding that despite the huge market, the nation continued to import vegetables. He stated that Ghana was the second largest importer of tomato paste and puree in the world. Importation

He said the country imported $60 million worth of onions every year, adding that it continued to depend on neighbouring countries for the supply of sweet pepper and other vegetables in addition to the importation of mangoes from Senegal and a lot of leafy vegetables from Cote D’ivoire.

He noted that production strategies of the nation remained unfavourable since there was a period for lean season and another for bumper season and said that caused the fluctuation of prices of fruits by 150 per cent and for vegetables by 1,000 per cent and an average of 400 per cent for onions.

Mr Acquaye said the Kpando, Torkor and Vakpo areas had been declared the “Afadjato-Dayi Enclave” for vegetable cultivation in view of opportunities available at the Dayi and Volta Rivers, irrigation facility at Torkor and the Packhouse, adding that a website was to be developed to expose investment opportunities in the enclave. Vegetable production

At Aflao, the President of VEPEAG, Mr Joseph Tontoh, told producers that vegetable production was a business and not a way of life.

He said good agricultural practices were essential, otherwise they could not penetrate the market, and that they should remain resolute to membership of the producers association to maximise potentials in the market. 70 hairdressers 

At Ho, a workshop was organised for 70 hairdressers drawn from the Volta Region at the auditorium of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) with a call on the participants to update their skills and improve their products to enable them to capture the market.

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