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The Okuafo Pa project for agricultural training in Ghana

The initiative supports socio-economic growth through capacity building and entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector.

A 40 hectares Campus for agro-industrial activities and professional training of future entrepreneurs

The Campus, located in Dormaa East, Bono Region, is a pilot initiative of Eni's Africa Program which aims to support economic diversification in the agricultural sector through the transfer of skills and support for entrepreneurship, in particular through self-sustainable agricultural cooperatives. The Okuafo Pa Campus covers about 40 hectares and includes classrooms, greenhouses, poultry houses, experimental laboratories and cultivable areas of land. It will provide theoretical and practical training to 800 students per year in agri-business. The training course, developed in collaboration with local universities, is a practical answer to the knowledge needs of local farmers that is one of the main reasons of under-development. In addition to training activities, the project will support the trainees in the post-training phase and facilitate access to the labour market and microcredit facilities. The objective is to have a self-sustainable Campus model able to become a regional hub to stimulate new start-ups, aggregate existing businesses and develop cooperative models along the supply chain of the most important agricultural products. This latter aspect further highlights the opportunity to strengthen the internal self-resilience in food security and be less dependent on imports. 

The Campus was officially opened in November 2019 at the presence of Ghana’s and Italy’s highest-ranking officials, as wells as Eni’s top management. During the opening ceremony, we signed a Cooperation Agreement with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, in their role as a financial institution for international development cooperation, for the definition of sustainable development initiatives in the business and agro-industrial sector. The document also provides for collaboration in defining those mechanisms to access credit for local entrepreneurs and the use of international funds to start the replication of the project.

In November 2020 the graduation ceremony for the first batch of trainees of the Okuafo Pa Agricultural Training Centre was held to mark the successful completion of training of the first batch of students. The ceremony was scaled down in order to adhere to Government Covid-19 guidelines, with a group of trainees in attendance to represent the 800 graduates.  Following their training, the former students are now equipped with the skills required to start-up their own businesses along the agricultural value chain. Selection of the second batch of 800 trainees for the 2021 training year has started and will be completed by end of this year.

 

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an action programme signed in September 2015 by 193 UN member states. It includes 17 goals for socio-economic development of communities and local areas. In line with the first, fourth, eighth and seventeenth goals, with this project we contribute to ending all forms of poverty (Goal 1), to provide quality, fair and inclusive education (Goal 4), to encourage lasting, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (Goal 8), to strengthen the means of implementation and renew the global partnership for sustainable development (Goal 17). Finally, through the Okuafo Pa project we are contributing to the fulfilment of Goal 5, aimed at achieving gender equality for all women and young women; of Goal 6, aimed at ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation; and Goal 12, which guarantees sustainable production and consumption models.

Opening of the training centre: photo gallery

In November 2019, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Eni’s Chairman Emma Marcegaglia, the Prime Minister of Ghana Yaw Osafo-Marfo and Eni’s CEO Eni Claudio Descalzi opened the training centre, which seeks to foster economic diversification in the agricultural sector through skills transfer and support for entrepreneurs.

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Safety first

For us, workplace safety is a fundamental principle that we share with employees, contract workers and local communities. That is why we implement all the necessary measures to avoid accidents, including organisational models to assess and manage risks, training programmes, skills development and the promotion of a culture of safety.

Technologies we use

The campus is entirely powered by photovoltaic panels, making it self-sufficient and highly efficient.

Replicability and Impact on the environment and communities

The pilot project Okuafo Pa is intended to set-up the model of the Africa Program to be replicated in Ghana and in other Sub-Saharan Countries with a positive impact on local supply-chains, food security and employment opportunities. The self-sustainable campus model leverages local employment, generates revenues from agricultural activities and develops cooperative models along the supply-chains of the main agricultural products. 

The implementation of the pilot project has given a strong impulse to the replication process: the Government of Ghana has already identified areas where the project can be replicated, while other Countries have also identified areas for similar interventions. Through the partnership with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, processes are ongoing to access funds from the main international cooperation agencies to sponsor the implementation of the Program. The training program will also focus on reducing the environmental impacts from the current agriculture practices, for example from the use of slash and burn.

The value of experience

Professional training and the acquisition of skills is a precondition on any path to social and economic development. We want to play an active role in defining virtuous paths of sustainable growth in the countries where we operate and this project is a concrete example of what we can do if we pool our resources with those of our partners.

Partnerships

The project is developed in cooperation with the Government of Ghana represented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI). We operate in partnership with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti for the development of micro-credit facilities and with Coldiretti and Bonifiche Ferraresi for the development of agricultural activities.