Gold Fields Ghana (GFG), in partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, which is implementing the Employment for Sustainable Development (E4D) in Africa program on behalf of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, is today launching the Youth in Organic Horticulture Production (YouHop) Program. The initiative, being executed through the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation, is aimed at creating employment and improving incomes for about 1,000 community youth, along the entire horticulture value chain. GFG and GIZ are investing 800,000 Euros in the program, over a three-year period.
Vegetables, which form part of most meals, are high value crops that have potential for substantial income generation. Unfortunately, however, this area of agricultural production has not been fully explored. Ghana currently produces much less than the available export market, and local supply is only seasonal. The YouHop
program will tap into this opportunity, and will be underpinned by 4 main structures:
1. YouHop Farmer Business School: This will seek to build and strengthen the entrepreneurial capacity of YouHop participants and help them approach farming as a business enterprise. They will be taken through training modules in:
-Financial literacy and fund management
-Market identification and entry
-Entrepreneurial and business skills
-Relationship building and negotiation; and
-The use of appropriate technology
2. YouHop ICT System: This system will include a knowledge and networking platform that will help participants share complaints and solutions, monitor weather and price updates, and receive information on farming practices. It will also help manage production and distribution links, and serve as a data collection tool for baselines and impact studies.
3. YouHop Cooperative Credit Union: This will be a community-based sustainable financing system established to provide low interest credit facilities and business advisory services to program participants.
4.Green Label Certification: Vegetables produced under the YouHop program will seek certification from the Ghana Green Label Secretariat, to confirm that they were produced under strict, acceptable and verifiable agriculture protocols.
Through these structures, YouHop has been designed to be self-funding and self-sustaining after three years, with the potential for scalability within the communities, as well as replicability in other parts of the country.
GFG, supported by GIZ, has undertaken a community sensitization exercise in all of GFG’s host communities, and the participant selection process has been completed to determine the kinds of vegetables to be grown, and the current income levels of participants.
The program is part of Gold Fields Ghana’s commitment to community and national development and E4D’s objectives to create employment, improve incomes, and improve working conditions of program beneficiaries.
Download the YouHoP Launch Announcement [PDF]
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