The Vice Chancellor (VC) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has tasked the Mills administration to safeguard the country’s cocoa industry.
Professor Williams Otoo Ellis stressed that safeguarding the country’s cocoa industry is an important exercise due to the commodity’s immense importance to the country’s economy.
The country’s youngest VC emphasized that in spite of the oil and gas find, cocoa continues to be the mainstay of the country’s economy, hence the need for the industry to be protected.
Professor Ellis made these observations in Kumasi on Tuesday when he delivered a keynote address at the launch of the agricultural logistics skills development programme.
He said cocoa is not only the backbone of the country’s economy but constitutes a significant menu for most people in the country.
“There is no denying the fact that cocoa is Ghana and Ghana is cocoa” the VC insisted, imploring the government to implement sound policies to promote the sector.
He noted that despite the significant contribution of cocoa to the country’s developmental agenda, problems such as pest, diseases, smuggling and lack of logistics among others continue to affect the sector.
The agricultural logistics skills development programme is designed to equip post-secondary Ghanaian youth with sufficient knowledge in logistics, transportation, supply chain, warehousing, information technologies and other skills related to agricultural products, particularly cocoa.
The programme, which will be held at the KNUST School of Business, is aimed at equipping the beneficiaries with skills to help them gain employment as logistics/warehousing technicians in the cocoa sector.
30 people have been selected to undertake the training which comprises a four-month academic training and three months internship period with programme sponsors.
The programme, which is under the auspices of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), is being sponsored by ADM Ghana Limited, a Kumasi-based cocoa manufacturing company and Safmarine, an international shipping company.
Beneficiaries of the programme, which is expected to be an annual affair, were selected from families that own cocoa farms in cocoa growing areas and people who live in the Kaase area, where the ADM company is located.
Professor Ellis said he was delighted that KNUST was part of the programme, stressing that the platform will afford the university a unique opportunity to contribute its quota towards the development of the cocoa sector.
Launching the programme, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Dr Kwaku Agyeman Mensah, expressed sincere thanks to WCF and their sponsors for the initiative, noting that with the introduction of the programme, youth unemployment will lessen. He promised his outfit’s readiness to help the programme succeed and entreated the beneficiaries to take the training seriously.
Source: Morgan Owusu, Kumasi
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