Oil Palm Association to change sector’s fortune with five-year strategy

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The Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG) has launched a five-year strategic plan to improve its governance, administrative structure and funding status. The strategic plan begins in 2020 and is on the theme ‘Creating a Socially Responsible, Ecologically Sustainable and an Economically Vibrant and Inclusive Oil Palm Industry in Ghana’.

The plan was developed through collaboration and consensus-building with veritable representation from actors along the entire palm oil value chain. The strengths, weakness, opportunity and threats (SWOT) of OPDAG and the general oil palm sector were identified.  The findings helped in identifying the critical issues and factors upon which the 5-year strategic plan was developed.

It is believed that after the five years OPDAG will have an improved governance and administrative structure, and will have established a sustainable source of funding and an auditable financial management system.

The plan also seeks to improve the membership base and service delivery to members; improve internal and external communication; adoption and use of globally-recognised best practices across the value chain; and push policy advocacy for good of the industry.

Each of the strategic pillars has its own related activities designed to contribute in the achievement of the association’s overall objectives. These pillars are in tune with the changes that are occurring within the sector – particularly taking cognisance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and responsible production in line with other globally recognised sustainability principles and criteria.

The President of the Association, Samuel Avaala, speaking at the plan’s official launch said: “The strength, weakness, opportunities and threats of the association and entire oil palm sector are identified and captured in the plan”.

He said the association, since it’s relaunch in 2015, had chalked-up a lot of successes and resolved many challenges – adding that to sustain the gains made while addressing the challenges identified, there was a need to develop and implement a strategic plan to serve as a blue-print for development of the sector.

“The findings helped in identifying the critical issues and factors upon which this five-year strategic plan was developed. These pillars are in tune with changes that are occurring within the sector, particularly taking cognisance of the Sustainable Development Goals and responsible production – in line with other globally recognised sustainability principles and criteria,” he added.

He commended the management of Solidarid West Africa and the Embassy of the Royal Kingdom of Netherlands for their support to the association and the oil palm industry.

The Regional Director-Solidaridad West Africa, Isaac Gyamfi, said the organisation has been in Ghana’s oil palm sector since 2012 – promoting yield intensification at both farm and mill levels through the introduction of Best Management Practices and improved processing technology.

He said the organisation has also supported the revitalisation of OPDAG and played a role in establishment of the Tree Crops Development Authority, all implemented under the Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Programme.

The Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker, urged them to take the initiative very seriously, so that “we can develop an oil palm industry in Ghana without the social and environmental challenges we have witnessed in other parts of the world”. He expressed hope that the leadership of OPDAG will facilitate information sharing and interactions between companies in the oil palm sector of Ghana and the Netherlands.

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