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EU ambassador inspects WACOMP farming projects

Mr Irchad Razaaly, the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, has inspected some mango farms that have benefited from the EU funded West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP).

The tour, which sought to assess the impact of interventions under the programme, formed part of activities to mark the EU Week Celebrations in Accra.

The Ambassador was accompanied by a delegation that included Dr Charles Kwame Sackey, Chief Technical Advisor for WACOMP-Ghana at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), an implementing agency of the programme.

The delegation visited Hendy Farms, Akorley packhouse as well as mango nursey located at Dodowa.

Speaking in an interview, Mr Razaaly said he was impressed with the impact of the project and that the visit was very insightful from a consumer perspective.

He said the project was looking to help more Ghanaian farmers meet certification and have access to EU market adding that, ‘mangoes are already in the European market, and I will be delighted to see more of Ghanaian mangoes in the EU market.’

Hendy Farms, which has a mango plantation and a processing unit for dry mango, has been supported with E-Marketing to E-Commerce training, branding, and marketing programmes, product packaging as well as Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) product registration and certification process.

The farm has also benefited from Sub-Contracting Matching Scheme, Direct one-on-one coaching, Trade Fairs and shows.

Akorley packhouse also received WACOMP support through harvest and post-harvest management training and documentary on mango harvesting.

Cotton Web link, which is a greenhouse nursery, has benefited from a Sub-Contracting Matching Scheme, training on nursery management, private extension training of youth and capacity building on good mango agronomic practices.

Dr Sackey said WACOMP implementation in Ghana was in line with the government’s industrial agenda.

He disclosed that so far, about 30,000 people, with women making up about 52 per cent of beneficiaries, had been trained in various capacities to enhance good agricultural practices, good certification process and decent work among others.

WACOMP is a partnership initiative between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and EU, which has a bearing on regional economic integration and highlights commitment to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and West Africa.

It has an overall objective of strengthening the trade competitiveness of West Africa and to enhance the ECOWAS countries’ integration into the regional and international trading system, including the newly established African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

This is to be achieved through an enhanced level of production, value addition, and export capacities of the private sector in line with regional and national industrial, Small and Medium Enterprises support strategies.

WACOMP is funded through a EURO 120 million contribution from the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) for West Africa (2014 – 2020) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) of the European Union.

In Ghana, the EU is contributing a total of pound 6.2 million EURO with pound 150,000 from UNIDO, totalling pound 6.35 million of donor fund to the programme that seeks to enhance value-addition, engineer low carbon sustainable production and processing with the aim of increasing access to regional and international markets.

WACOMP Ghana, launched in March 2019 and expected to end 2024, embraces the vision of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) and is also aligned to UNIDO’s mandate of fostering Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID).

Source: Ghana News Agency