Madam Anne Schick, the Acting Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana, says the Swiss Government will continue to support the palm oil sector under the Ghana Private Sector Competitiveness Programme Phase II.
She said through the already co-funded Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme (SWAPP II), significant progress had been made in the development of a sustainable and competitive oil palm sector in Ghana.
Madam Schick made this known on the sidelines of the close-out event of the programme implemented by Solidaridad West Africa in Accra.
The four-year programme, implemented between 2018 and 2022, sought to transform the West African palm oil sector into an inclusive and sustainable sector through micro, small and medium enterprises that provide large-scale yield intensification and farm rehabilitation services to oil palm farmers and efficient processing of fresh fruits bunches in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
SWAPP II, which was co-funded by the Swiss Government through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Accra, follows the successful implementation of the first phase (2013-2017).
It demonstrated the business case for developing a sustainable West African oil palm and processing sector along the lines of small and medium enterprises.
Under the programme, Solidaridad and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) under the Ghana Skills Development Initiative, jointly developed the curriculum for competency-based training in oil palm. The curriculum is accredited by the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.
Five hundred and six youth received training in four out of the six competency areas in the first quarter of 2021 and 36 per cent of them have been employed in the sector.
As part of the process, 113 financial institutions and impact investors were engaged, 56 financial institutions were trained in oil palm business appraisal.
He said under the programme, 384 Village Savings and Loans Associations were established by Solidaridad successfully linked to financial institutions
“I appreciate the good work that has been done by Solidaridad with the cooperation. Through SWAPP II, the government and people of Switzerland are happy to have supported Ghana’s desire to become self-sufficient in palm oil production and related products,” she added.
Madam Schick said a lot had been reached through joint efforts and they were proud to be part, however, SWAPP ll in Ghana had not reached all its targets and there were different reasons for this.
“But one is certainly in relation with the set-up of the Tree Crop Development Authority and in fact, we anticipated that the Authority is much earlier up and running and able to provide an enabling environment for palm oil and other crops in Ghana,” she said.
She said they had come a long way and had reached a lot but there were also still some steps ahead of them, moreover the oil palm sector in Ghana.
“We are currently finalizing the setup of the second phase of our Ghana Private Sector Competitiveness Programme, which since 2017 works in the cashew and palm oil sector in Ghana,’ she added.