Trade Ministry introduces food processing modules
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has introduced food processing modules under the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) to create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth in the country.
According to the Ministry, the REP through its Rural Technology Facilities (RTFs) in 161 districts now process raw cassava, cocoa beans, oil palm, shea and cashew nuts as well as grinding and adding value to vegetables like pepper and ginger in commercial quantities for domestic use and export.
Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the sector Minister made this known when he opened an orientation workshop on the REP for municipal and districts a in Sunyani.
The workshop attended by municipal and district chief executives, coordinating directors and finance officers drawn from the districts was to inform the participants on the outcome of the recent mid-term review of the REP and to offer opportunity to discuss details of the status of the programme.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said the REP was among several intervention strategies put in place by the government to create jobs to address rural poverty.
He directed the beneficiary districts of the programme to be innovative and identify their peculiar needs and request funding from the coordination and management unit.
Dr Spio-Garbrah explained that his Ministry is putting in place the necessary measures to promote the growth of industry including micro and small enterprises in the various districts.
He said the need to discourage unbridled taste for foreign goods to the advantage of local industries is necessary.
“As a nation we need to all work to reduce this pressure and grow a strong foreign exchange reserve to stimulate economic growth,” Dr Spio-Garbrah added.
The National Director of REP, Mr Kwasi Attah-Antwi, explained the need for the improvement of the operations of the programme and rebrand all the Business Advisory Centres (BAC) by providing adequate training to staff and more resources for the centres to become a one stop shop for business development services in the districts.
He expressed unhappiness about the inability of most of the beneficiary municipal and district assemblies to pay the counterpart funding to the BACs and RTFs.
He said the situation is making it difficult for the programme to achieve its set target.
Mr Attah-Antwi said the REP is still relevant as it continue to solve among others, the problem of unemployment, wealth creation and capacity building especially for the youth in the country.