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SDF awards grants to 4 organisations

The Skills Development Fund has awarded grants totalling GHC 526,000 to four applicants of the fund at a brief grant award ceremony held at the Adasa Royal Hotel in East Legon. The Fund, which is an  initiative of the Government of Ghana and managed by the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), is supported with a $50 million credit facility from The World Bank and a $10 Million grant from DANIDA.

Addressing the grantees, the Executive Director of COTVET, Dr. Daniel Baffour-Awuah, mentioned that SDF is a challenge fund aimed at addressing the skills and technology needs of business enterprises operating in both the formal and the informal sectors of the economy of Ghana, with a specific focus on supporting the development of a highly  qualified and skilled labour force and the acquisition and development of innovative technology towards increased productivity, competitiveness, incomes and employment opportunities.
 
The Brong Ahafo Moringa Farmers Association, Ejisu-Juaben Pig Farmers & Processors Association, Volta Region Association of Beekeepers (VORAB) and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) were awarded grants to implement interventions aimed at   enhancing their managerial efficiency, productivity, competitiveness, income and job creation  within their respective industries.

The Brong Ahafo Moringa Farmers Association has a membership of 459 small scale Moringa growers and processors, all located in the Brong Ahafo Region. To realise its objective of acquiring skills to process Moringa leaves and seeds into high quality finished goods for export, the association has been awarded a grant of GHC 90,801 to train 429 Moringa farmers in record keeping, production and marketing of Moringa products.

The Ejisu-Juaben Pig Farmers & Processors Association, the second beneficiary, is a 200-member association of Pig farmers based in Ejisu with the aim of processing and marketing pork and pork products.  The association also aims to enlarge markets for the sale of its products, develop sound and ethical business and management practices among its members. According to the association, the over usage of antibiotics in pig farming has been proven to have adverse medical effects on consumers of pig products. The association has been awarded a grant of GHC 67,500 to implement interventions aimed at increasing the technical capacity to apply organic medicines in pig rearing, to reduce health risks associated with antibiotics and also increase the productivity of its members.

The third beneficiary organisation, VORAB (Volta Region Association of BeeKeepers), is a group of 1,313 bee keepers in the Volta Region. VORAB aims to promote beekeeping as an income generating, poverty alleviation, health, food security and environmental conservation activity. The association intends to improve technical beekeeping skills, build the business management skills of its 1,313 members. The association has been awarded a grant of GHC 144,360 to implement interventions aimed at directly equipping 111 of its members in both technical and business management skills to operate the business and market their products.

The fourth grantee is the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), an organisation based in Fumesua in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality.  INBAR aims to research and build the capacities of its members in livelihood, trade and economic development. The network was given a grant of GHC 222,520 to establish a well equipped Bamboo and Rattan Common Facility Centre to be located at the Kumasi Cultural Centre, to provide training for technology and skills improvement in bamboo and rattan production.

The grants are expected to increase productivity and incomes of some 1,820 small scale enterprises and create over 7,000 new jobs in the bee keeping, piggery, moringa, bamboo and rattan industry within the next three years.

Mr. Ato Simpson, SDF Grant Specialist, expressed optimism that with the technical support of the Project Support Unit of COTVET, the grants will have far reaching positive impacts on the productive capacities of beneficiaries. Concluding, Mr. Matthew Dally, Head of the Project Support Unit of COTVET, stressed that SDF will closely monitor the implementation of interventions to ensure they fall within the objectives for the grants and do achieve the expected outcomes. While admonishing grantees to take ownership of the SDF funded projects, he reminded them to ensure the benefits trickle down and remain  within their respective local industries and generate the expected impacts on productivity, incomes and employment.