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Published: 31 May 2017 Source: University Relations Office (URO)
The Rural Entrepreneurship Short Course Programme, a partnership programme between the Short Courses and Special Programmes Unit of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) of Wageningen University, Netherlands, has formally opened. The first course of the two-week programme, which runs from 29th May to 9th June, 2017 at the International Centre for Innovative Learning (ICIL), is on the theme “Driving Innovations in Agrifood Value Chains.”
The highly interactive course aims at improving trust among actors in agrifood chains, addressing protectionist behavior in local fresh produce value chains and empowering stakeholders to shape the environment in which private sector driven innovations in agrifood value chains can take the shape that improve food and nutrition security, thereby increasing their knowledge and their skills on the field.
In his welcome address, Professor Isaac K. Dontwi, Director, Institute of Distance Learning (IDL), stated that the increasing demand for higher education has necessitated the introduction of short courses as a new line for people to attain life-long learning experiences. He encouraged the participants to get the best out of the programme and apply the knowledge acquired wherever they find themselves. He wished them the best and urged them to be good ambassadors of the short course programme.
Nana Dr. Sampson E. Edusah, coordinator, ICIL, addressed the participants on rural entrepreneurship in the informal sector in Ghana. As a specialist in the field, he stated that Ghana is basically an agrarian country where agriculture contributes thirty percent towards the country’s gross domestic product and employs over sixty percent of the adult population. He explained that rural entrepreneurship is a support system for both rural and urban areas in Ghana. The market system, he indicated, operates with an open system where there are no barriers to free market activities. The absence of taxes and licensing requirements, he explained, ensures that lots of people are involved in the market chain, where they do not need any training to get involved. Livelihoods are therefore improved as a result of the open system in rural entrepreneurship.
Nana Dr. Edusah further discussed the political and cultural administrative systems in Ghana. He noted that Ghana operates a delicate dual system of governance which combines the traditional administrative system and constitutional rule. He indicated that the dual system ensures the stability of the country, where the diverse cultural practices are rooted in the chieftaincy institution. He took participants through some historical events in Ghana, which included a brief history of KNUST, Ghana and the chieftaincy system of the Asante Kingdom.
Professor Robert K. Nkum, Chairman of the Centre for Continuous Education and Training (CCET), stated that the short course programme was an opportunity for those who are constrained geographically to read programmes of their choice. He revealed that the IDL plans to run eighty three programmes, which include local and international programmes. He called on the participants to register in any of them. Professor Nkum added that the centre runs access programmes for people from different countries. He indicated that the access programmes represent a route to studying for a degree in KNUST.
Jan Helder, Course Coordinator from Wageningen University & Research, indicated that the short course programme has evolved nicely, with some structural changes made as an improvement on earlier programmes. He revealed that entrepreneurs are on board to make the agrifood value chain better for the participants’ benefit, making it a discovery session for them to acquire more knowledge.
The two-week programme promises to be exciting as participants will be exposed to new conceptual frameworks and models that assist in identifying market development opportunities for poverty alleviation, alerting them to imbalances within value chains, especially those of locally traded produce, and introducing them to a business planning model that integrates the critical variables of cost-price calculation in a sound way. The second batch of the Rural Entrepreneurship Short Course will be held on 19th June 2017. A total of thirty three participants from fifteen countries around the world are attending the short courses.