Agricultural Value Chains
Even though the agriculture sector is contributing to a quarter of the national GDP, only 10 % of the workforce in the agricultural sector receives formal training. In order to boost vocational training opportunities, GSDI was commissioned to develop an Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) approach for the three agricultural value chains cashew, mango and oil palm to develop occupational standards and competency-based training (CBT) courses. The cashew and oil palm value chains are being implemented in collaboration with ComCashew and Solidaridad respectively.
Cashew Value Chain
In Ghana, the cashew crop – similar to most other crops – is predominantly cultivated by smallholder farmers with an average farm size of 2 hectares. The few commercial farms extent to 800 hectares of cashew plantation. Both business models rely on skilled family and hired labour either as an extra pair of hands to collect cashew nut and apples during the harvest season or as service providers to provide technical expertise in planting, weeding, thinning or spraying cashew farms.
The job profiles of the various hired labourers in Ghana are neither well-defined, nor formally acknowledged because technical training occurs mainly on the job. Therefore, seasonal laborers and service providers are often treated as unskilled labourers and therefore remain part of the informal economy, meaning without a stable and reliable source of income. Undoubtedly, the cashew sector in Ghana needs a formally trained and qualified workforce to revamp its agricultural production and processing sector, not only for poverty alleviation but also to develop a market-oriented food production and a competitive agricultural food processing industry. Thus, demand-driven, private sector-oriented and competency-based TVET in the agricultural sectors has a high potential to contribute significantly and sustainably to Ghana’s agricultural growth and thus to the country’s socio-economic development. The GSDI approach to ATVET in the Cashew Value Chain highlights potentials for professional up-skilling of women, youth employment prospects and self-employment opportunities. The development of occupational standards and CBT courses for cashew focus on all four levels – NP I, NP II, NC I and NC II to cover a broader range of skills and occupations along the value chain.