A week-long consultative stakeholders engagement workshop to identify notable value chains that have the potential to create employment opportunities and help prevent the insurgence of violent extremism in the sub-region has begun in Tamale.
It is to solicit relevant stakeholders’ input on some key sectors in the agricultural value chain, which when maximised, could generate income and enhance the livelihoods of communities for sustainable development and peaceful coexistence.
It is organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Governments of Denmark and Germany, and participants, who included representatives of Departments of Agriculture, Business Advisory Centres, Village Savings and Loans Associations, aggregators, women in the shea industry, and community members, were drawn from the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, North East and the Savannah Regions.
It formed part of the UNDP’s Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism in the Atlantic Corridor project being implemented in four countries, including Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin.
Madam Melody Azinim, Peace and Governance Analyst at UNDP, speaking during the workshop, said it was to explore the value chains and how to commercialise the sector into sustainable businesses.
Madam Azinim said, “We gathered here to identify the advantages, gaps, opportunities and challenges in the value chain, and to arrive at the conclusion, which will help address communities’ vulnerabilities to violent extremism.”
She said the project was geared towards responding to the vulnerabilities of the communities in the sub-region, especially in the Sahel by providing sustainable employment opportunities to help prevent the activities of violent extremists within the area.
She appealed to the various stakeholders in the country to be vigilant and proactive to safeguard the borders from extremist attacks.
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister, whose speech was read on his behalf, said government, in collaboration with other partners, had been proactive in ensuring human security whilst enhancing local capacities to address their vulnerabilities.
He mentioned the country’s Coordinated Programme for Economic and Social Policies (2017-2024), saying it sought to modernise and transform agriculture, promote industrial diversification and accelerate youth employment.
He commended UNDP and partners for organising the workshop, saying it would help create sustainable development for the youth, especially women and girls.
Dr Prince Oppong Kwarteng, a Consultant with the UNDP, led participants to explore some of the value chains in the regions, which had the potential to create employment and improve the livelihoods of the communities.
Some of the areas prioritised by participants included poultry production and animal husbandry, shea, yam, cashew cassava, maize, soybeans, dawadawa cultivation, honey production, amongst others.
Hajia Alima Sagito-Saeed, Executive Director, Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency, lauded the intervention and said it would enhance the resilience of women in the agricultural sector as well as minimise gender-based violence.
Mr Sulemana Mahama, Head, Department of Agriculture, North Gonja District, Savannah Region, said the agricultural sector was favourable for tackling unemployment and called on other stakeholders to support the project to help provide employment and prevent violent extremism in the sub-region.