CAVA II Ghana organized a two day training for 16 graduates; comprising of 12 males and 4 females at the Food Research Processing Centre at Pokuasi. The training was organized on the request of Graduate Self Employment Opportunities Association of Ghana, a partly for profit and non-profit organization aimed at developing interest and skills of Ghanaian graduates to venture into the cassava value chain.
The thrust of the training was to give the graduates practical skills in the production process of High Quality Cassava Flour as well as theoretical understanding of the evolution of HQCF in order to strengthen their capacity in production. It was also aimed at developing their entrepreneurial skills in the sectors of cassava value chain so as to be able to embrace challenges in the chain and enhance their business performance.
Mr. Gregory Komlaga, Assistant Country Manager and Technical Expert for CAVA II Ghana took the participants through the production process of High Quality Cassava Flour. This included harvesting, weighing, peeling, washing, sorting, grating, pressing, disintegrating, drying, milling, bagging and storage. He emphasized on the various drying methods such as sun-drying, solar drying, mechanical drying and flash drying technology. The drying methods used for the training were sun and solar drying. He however, advocated for a shift to the use of flash drying technology as it is more efficient and economical for large scale processing.
Participants were also taking through Business/Entrepreneurial skills-Starting a Cassava (HQCF, IGCF, HQCCF) Business by the CAVA II Ghana Business Development Experts; Mr. Francis K. F. Aidoo and Mrs. Marian Tandoh Wordey. Participants learnt entrepreneurial traits, idea generation, HQCF business requirements; demand, supply and money factors, how to ensure HQCF business success, and reasons for new venture failure (HQCF).
Participants also acquired negotiation skills in the cassava new value chains to ensure business success. Each participant was asked to assess him or herself to identify potential talents and skills that would make them successful. They were given the opportunity to ask and respond to questions relevant to each stage of the presentations. The Business Development Experts together with the leader of the Graduate Association, Mr. Amponsah, who has over 20 years’ experience in the cassava value chains in Vietnam shared experiences with the participants and addressed questions that were raised. Questions bothered on markets, finance and management of the new value chains amongst others.
At the end of the workshop, the graduates were very excited about the knowledge they acquired and the prospect of the new value chains. Those who were already in the business were hopeful to leverage on the training to upscale HQCF and other new value added product and those who were yet to commence business were very optimistic and expressed their readiness to start operations.
Ms. Dorothy Nyamesem, Graduate Geophysics who has acquired Gari Processing Factory in Ashanti Region said “I am happy to participate in this training; I have acquired new skills and will convert my Gari Factory to HQCF soon. I hope CAVA II will continue with this workshop, it will really help us as young entrepreneurs”. Mr. Eric Dompreh, a member of the association who is stationed at Eastern Region, expressed his appreciation for CAVA II project and envisaged to acquire mechanical dryers and other equipment to upgrade his cassava chips business and also start HQCF production.
Graduates testing the Solar Drying Process with BDE & ACM
Graduate Self Employment Initiative Association is partly for profit organization engaged in the development of cassava value chain through processing for local and international market. As part of its efforts to meet it high volume export market, the association had trained over 200 graduates in processing technologies and agronomic practices to support farmers and SMEs in processing in agronomic practices. In the medium to long term, the association wishes to train and employ over 2000 graduates to supports its operations. Mr. Amponsah, the founder of the Association expressed his gratitude to CAVA II for its support and hope to continue to collaborate for a sustainable mutual benefits.