Solidaridad (an international civil society organization) has organised a training session in advocacy for zonal executives of the Oil Palm Development Association (OPDAG) Ghana at Cape Coast in the Central Region.
Attended by 44 oil palm actors, the training was to equip executives of the oil palm value chain association with tools and strategies to influence policy as well as deliberate on issues affecting the oil palm sector.
Also, the training had representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) and Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD).
Topics discussed include “climate vulnerability assessment and life cycle analysis, update on the Tree Crop Development Authourity and PERM implementation.
Others are MoTU strategic initiatives and opportunities for palm oil value chain actors, OPDAG strategic plan among others.
Susan Yemidi, Country Rep. of Solidaridad in an interview explained that “Solidaridad West Africa is working on a number of agric commodities and for Ghana in particular, we are working in oil palm and cocoa”.
“Under the oil palm programme, we have Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme (SWAPP) and we are in phase II. In phase II, we are trying to scale up of what we learnt in phase I that is, there are best management practices that we can have to improve harvest and yields for all farmer” she said.
So far, she said over 10,000 oil palm farmers have been trained in best management practices under SWAPP II.
SWAPP II, she pointed out seeks to improve the oil palm value chain, increase incomes of small farmers and processors and generate economic growth and jobs in Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
“There are three components to this programme; access to finance, skills training and environmental management issues as well as policy dialogue because, we are seeking to also transform the sector” she added.
Samuel Avaala, President of OPDAG said over the years, the association has been engaging policymakers and the government on critical issues that affect the oil palm sector in Ghana.
“Notable among recent achievements include advocating the establishment of the Tree Crop Development Authourity to regulate and promote the sector,” he said.
Nicholas Issaka, Programme Manager SWAPP II said “SWAPP II is part of Solidaridad’s global agenda to build sustainable production for oil palm and other commodities.