ARCHIPELAGO EU PROJECT

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The Archipelago project, Horticulture in Ghana for a brighter future inception began in 2020 funded by the European Union with the aim of improving the horticulture sector, creating jobs to the youth through practical four-month training in Entrepreneurship course “FARMING AS A BUSINESS”, selecting and establishing 20 demonstration plots and training over 2000 farmers on good agronomic practices, adopting new technologies to improve production and income. The European Union project was closed on 31-12-2022 n 2020, the Archipelago project was launched in Ghana with funding from the European Union. Its primary goal was to revitalize the horticulture sector by providing practical four-month training courses in entrepreneurship, equipping the youth with the skills to embark on 'Farming as a Business.' The project successfully selected and established 20 demonstration plots, as well as trained over 2,000 farmers on adopting new technologies and implementing good agronomic practices. By the end of 2022, the European Union's support came to a close, marking the culmination of a journey that had significantly impacted the horticulture industry in Ghana.

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One of the standout achievements of the Archipelago project was its collaboration with Kwadaso Agricultural College (KAC), elevating the quality of education for regular students. The project introduced practical horticulture skills, assignments, and entrepreneurship training, making a positive impact on the educational experience. Through this initiative, KAC students took responsibility for small plots, where they learned and demonstrated their crop-growing abilities. Moreover, the students acquired essential entrepreneurial skills that armed them to approach farming as a business. The increased interest of youth in studying at Kwadaso Agricultural College further highlighted the project’s success, with over 2,000 applications received in 2022 alone.

Another pivotal aspect of the Archipelago project was the implementation of a dedicated four-month course for mid-career young people aspiring to venture into the horticulture sector. This ‘Farming as a Business’ training program, carried out in conjunction with Holland Green Tech Ghana and KAC, witnessed four successful batches of 30-50 participants each. Surprisingly, the majority of these trainees held degrees in unrelated fields such as forestry, statistics, pharmacy, nursing, or medicine. However, the program’s impact was profound, with more than 70% of the participants successfully transitioning to farming, launching their own small businesses, and putting their acquired knowledge into practice. These Archipelago alumni have become exemplary ambassadors for the project, demonstrating the potential of horticulture as a lucrative venture and showcasing how Dutch inputs and expertise lead to enhanced yields and profitability.

The project’s transformative influence extended to the realm of lead farmers, with 20 individuals selected to adopt improved farming practices. Equipped with better seeds, drip irrigation, and weather data, these lead farmers exemplified the impact of technology-driven methods on their yields and profits. Not only did they enhance their own agricultural practices, but they also served as mentors to over 1,200 other farmers. Through the organization of regular farmer field days, these lead farmers, in collaboration with Holland Green Tech and KAC, disseminated valuable skills and knowledge to farmers in their respective districts. Many lead farmers now supply vegetables to supermarkets such as Urban Jungle, Melcom, and Shoprite, showcasing the far-reaching success of the initiative.

The Archipelago project’s accomplishments are even more remarkable considering the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the global crisis, the unwavering commitment of local students, farmers, and project stakeholders ensured continued progress towards achieving the project’s objectives.

The inspiring journey of Archipelago serves as a model for leveraging collaboration, innovation, and dedication to create lasting positive change for farmers and the horticulture industry in Ghana. Looking forward, the project’s success story provides valuable insights and best practices that can be scaled to benefit other districts in the country, ultimately fostering growth and development in the agricultural sector.”

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