A project aimed at making agriculture enterprises viable for job creation has been established in four districts in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The project, which is being carried out in the Nkoranza North District, Nkoranza South, Wenchi and Nkoranza municipalities, will span a period of three and a half years.
Based on the theme, “The Partnership Accelerated Local Economic Development in Brong Ahafo Project,” the project is being implemented by United Purpose, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), with support from the European Union (EU).
Also involved in the project is another NGO, Social Development and Improvement Agency (SODIA).
The project is developing the capacities of about 10,000 cassava, maize and cashew smallholder farmers, 500 agro entrepreneurs and 25 small and medium agribusiness ventures.
It will also enhance accountability and transparency in local governance system in beneficiary communities.
At a review meeting at Techiman to assess its impact after one year, the Manager in charge of the project, Mr Raymond Yaotse, said with regard to the increased citizen participation in governance and decision making, the project was expected to enhance the ability of participants to respond and effectively plan to achieve economic growth.
He revealed that the project had 7,024 participants, 58 per cent of who were females.
According to Mr Yaotse, the participants are from 91 communities in the four districts and belong to 257 savings and loans groups.
“The smallholder farmers are into maize, cassava and cashew cultivation and have been trained in farm enterprise management, with emphasis on business operations, business planning, production, financial record keeping, budgeting, marketing and crop insurance.
Mr Yaotse indicated that the project had also built the capacities of 600 agro-processors in gari, cassava dough and cassava chips production and educated them on enterprise management as well.
Under the project, specific local economic development plans have been developed by the four districts awaiting adoption and implementation by their respective district assemblies.
In addition, smallholder farmers in beneficiary areas have become more competitive, since they now keep records of their expenditures and also negotiate for better prices for their produce.
“Through market linkages, smallholder farmers are now supplying to high-end markets, while agro-processors have expanded their businesses and improved on the quality of their products and customer service deliveries,” Mr Yaotse stated.
He added that timely access to finance through a rural savings and loans approach had led to a reduction in reliance on traditional financial institutions.
The Country Director of United Purpose, Madam Juliette Lampoh, commended the agencies involved in the project for working to achieve results within the first year of the project’s implementation.