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.