President flags off greenhouse and innovation centre in Ghana
The National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) Greenhouse Estate Project, West Africa’s biggest greenhouse project, was officially outdoored at Dawhenya in the Greater Accra Region by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Unveiling 75 out of the total 1,000 green houses and entrepreneurship and innovation centre for training, the President said that the facilities would be producing 4,500 tonnes of vegetables valued at GH¢11 million annually. Already, produce from the farm are in shops like Shoprite and others around the country.
''The 75 greenhouses here can produce 4,500 tonnes of tomatoes annually, bringing in a yearly revenue of some GH¢11 million, and employing a total of 230 people. Already, vegetables from this farm are being sold at Shoprite, Farmers Market, Eden Tree, amongst others,'' he said.
A 192 hostel training centre, called Nana Akufo-Addo Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will offer practical training by experts from Isreal and other countries. It has a multipurpose conference facility and recreation centre all situated in the farm lands. Similar facilities are situated in Akomadan, Bawduase all at a total cost of $22 million.
The President stressed that the facility would serve as one of the key pillars in modernizing agriculture since the facility would not be reliant on rainfall patterns and seasonal vegetable farming. “Cultivating vegetables in greenhouses has several advantages since the farmer can plant with a plan and prices are guaranteed since there is all year round farming,” he said.
Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto noted that Kenya exports $3billion worth of fruits into the European market but Ghana is a net importer of vegetables but with this facility, coupled with its entrepreneurship training centre would change that story and make Ghana a net exporter.
''What the Business Development Ministry has done here would change our story and make us a net exporter of vegetable. We are working with all stakeholders to send our young men and women to Kenya to study what is being done in that market and come back and replicate it,'' he said.
Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister for Business Development said that the estate was set up to give a practical demonstration of innovation and entrepreneurship in this country. ''The youth of Ghana are very smart and intelligent and all they need is a leader to believe in them and support them to grow their businesses and in Nana Addo, we have that leader,'' he said.
The green estate would turn out hundreds of thousands of young Ghanaians to who would not only create businesses and employ people but would compete globally and move Ghana Beyond Aid.
As part of the process of modernizing agriculture and to make agriculture attractive to the youth and the graduate, the Business Development Ministry plans to build 1000 greenhouse across the country providing 10,000 direct jobs annually through the greenhouse project.
This project also has huge economic benefit to the nation bringing in an annual revenue of GH¢150,080,000 if all 1,000 domes are installed nationwide.