Youth Horticulture Entrepreneur Course starts at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

A Youth Horticulture Entrepreneur Course, aimed at empowering learners to enter into vegetable farming and related fields, will start on Tuesday, December 1, at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Through the course, young Ghanaians would be given a chance to learn all the facets of becoming an entrepreneur and network with the Kumasi Business Incubator, Kwadaso Agricultural College and Technical University of Delft (Holland), initiators and implementers of the course, to enrich their knowledge.

Briefing the media on the programme , dubbed: “Farming as an Entrepreneur: Horticulturalists’ Course,’’ Mr Kasper Buhl Andersen, the Business Developer and Project Input Coordinator, Holland Greentech Ghana, an implementing partner, said it was geared towards the youth in and around Ashanti Region to get the knowledge to start their own businesses in horticulture (vegetable production).

Read also How coconuts played a major role in Ghana’s ‘Year of Return’

“As an entrepreneur, it is crucial to be able to deliver a successful pitch to potential investors, so the course in business development and entrepreneurship will help in this endeavour,” Mr Andersen said.

He explained that the project was being funded from the European Union Emergency Trust Fund, from which an Archipelago Project in Kumasi, that birthed the horticulture training programme, received funding.

The main partnership is between Kwadaso Agricultural College and Technical University of Delft, with Holland Greentech Ghana as the implementer and the Kumasi Business Incubator being the venue.

Read also How some European regions came to have flags with the heads of Black men on them

Mr Andersen said the course would be delivered by Ellen Van Andel, an entrepreneurship expert based in Delft.

He said it was the Final Pitch session where participants would be engaged in both online and offline platforms in a competitive presentation by each of the five groups.

There would be an evaluation panel attending the Final Pitch session to share their experiences with the group.

Participants would receive certificates in Entrepreneurship at the end of the programme.

How some European regions came to have flags with the heads of Black men on them

The identity-establishing project we can call Europeanization may only have started some two or three centuries ago (and concretized and accelerated after World War I) but European polities have long celebrated sovereignty and tradition since the Middle Ages.

The characteristics of regions such as Basque, Sicily and Lombardy continue to shine through even after so many years that they have been consolidated under specific nations.

In the same way, Corsica and Sardinia, two island regions that now belong to France and Italy respectively, emerged with an unambiguously unique symbol of political identity.

On the flags of these polities is inscribed the head of a Black Moor man, with a white bandana around its head.

In the case of Sardinia, there are four same-looking Moor heads separated into four corners by the cross of St. George emblazoned on a white background. With the Corsican flag, there is just that one Moor head with the bandana.

There are historical as well as mythical explanations for these heads. The Sardinian flag, the older of the two, appears to have been adopted way back in 1326 after the Kingdom of Sardinia was founded and brought under the Crown of Aragon.

The Crown had already adopted a coat of arms for the Royal Chancellery of Peter of Aragon in 1281 in which there were four Moor heads, without bandanas, separated by the cross of St. George.

However, the first evidence of Sardinian usage of the Moor heads appears in 1572, according to Sardinian online tourist platform Fortieventi.

By this time, Sardinia was under the control of the composite monarchy of Aragon, which demanded unadulterated loyalty. But the Sardinian adoption of Moor heads came with certain changes different from the 1281 version.

Now, the heads wore bandanas and looked to the right instead of left. In the last five centuries, several changes have occurred to the flag but the dominant features of the cross and the heads remain.

In 1952, a decree by the Italian president Luigi Einaudi identified what the Italians called the Quattro Mori (Four Moors) as the official emblem of Sardinia.

Corsica’s adoption of a Moor’s head was in 1755 under famed general Pasquale Paoli. The circumstances that motivated the adoption are not very clear although no evidence of direct compulsion from the Crown of Aragon has been theorized although there is a myth that suggests Corsica copied the head from the Aragonese crown.

Just like the Sardinian Moor heads, Corsica’s has also undergone changes until its most recent version in 1980.

So, why are the heads of African men on European flags? The answer has unfortunately been many legends and very little verifiable history.

The Moors, which is itself a loaded descriptor throughout European history for Black, North African and Muslim peoples, were known to Europeans as far back as the 8th century CE.

The cultural tensions between the two peoples would have been cast since the Moors invaded and colonized the Iberian peninsula.

According to one Spanish tradition of how there came to be Moor heads as part of Aragon’s official emblems, King Peter I, in 1096, was aided in battle miraculously by St. George against Saracens (another name the Europeans called the Arab Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East).

The flag of 1281 was therefore an artist’s expression of this divine encounter.

There is another legend – Sardinian – which holds that the emblem of George’s cross was given to Sardinia by Pope Benedict VIII as spiritual support and morale booster in a war against Saracens who had conquered another Italian island, Sicily.

The legend states that this emblem given to the Sardinians had no heads of Moor, an addition that came after the Sardinian Christians had won the war.

In Corsica too, they have legends of how they came to have a Moor’s head. One of these is a story about a young man, Pablo, who rescued his lover Diana from a Moor, Mansour, sent by the King of Granada in the 13th century to kidnap the maiden.

Mansour was then killed in a fight by Pablo and it is Mansour’s head that adorns the Corsican flag today.

Apart from the near-validity of some of the timelines for these alleged battles in the legends, nothing much can be proven. The myths make up a collection of pourquoi stories that have been handed down over the centuries.

In light of modern anti-racist campaigns across the west, Sardinia and Corsica have been challenged to reimagine their flags but this campaign seems to be going nowhere.

Source: Face2faceAfrica

Mark Angel is Nigeria’s highest YouTube earner, makes over $300,000 a month

Mark Angel is one of the household names in the comedy industry in Nigeria. He is well known for his short comedy series on YouTube called Mark Angel Comedy which has over six million subscribers.

In 2017, the comedy series received a plaque from Youtube after becoming the first-ever Nigerian-owned YouTube channel to hit a million subscribers.

The comedy series, which started some six years ago, is among the most-watched videos on YouTube, with daily views of 1.4 million.

Since then, Mark Angel has evolved to become the biggest YouTube earner in Nigeria. According to a study by Accredited Debt Relief, the content creator earns some $326,800 in monthly revenue with estimated daily views of 1.4 million.

The study used the Noxinfluencer YouTube Money Calculator, which takes the average views and number of subscribers of a YouTube channel to estimate how much money it makes from ads per thousand views.

“All figures are estimated, as there are many unknown factors that decide earnings, such as the video type and location of the channel,” the study said.

On the methodology used to find the top earners, it used statistical websites Social Blade and Vidooly to find out which YouTuber has the most subscribers in each country.

“If the most subscribed channel was a band, media channel or company of any kind rather than an individual YouTuber, we looked for the next highest subscribed channel. Next, we used Banner Tag to find average daily views and estimated how much each channel was earning using a site called Noxinfluencer,” it said.

The study also noted that while there are several options for making money on YouTube, it’s nearly impossible to make a living without a large following.

“It’s important to note that figures are estimates of each YouTuber’s ad revenue, so it doesn’t account for corporate sponsorships, merchandise sales, or any fan donations. So for all we know, these influencers could be making even more money. If that doesn’t inspire you to start posting amateur videos on YouTube, we don’t know what will.”

The study however showed that the world’s most popular individual YouTuber is PewDiePie, a Swedish influencer based in England with over 100 million subscribers. Also, six-year-old Russian-American Anastasia Radzinskaya is the most popular YouTuber in the U.S with the channel name, Like Nastya.

Meanwhile, the star of the comedy series, Emmanuella, recently built a house for her parents. The 10-year-old took to her official Instagram account to announce to her 471,000 followers that she built her mother a house. “I built this for you mom.”

“For all the prayers; all the encouragement and support. Mummy, I know you said you want a portable house and this is it,” she posted on her Instagram handle. But forgive me because I must complete your mansion for you next year. Don’t worry, it won’t make us go to hell; my super Christmas mummy. I love you.”

How coconuts played a major role in Ghana’s ‘Year of Return’

Coconut is one underrated plant, but people are now noticing its importance. In Ghana, they call it the “tree of life” because everything about the plant is of benefit to mankind.

Also, research shows that coconuts have lots of minerals in its fruits that boost the health of consumers.

Last year, Ghana hosted the first ever international coconut festival which saw many investors and industry players meet in the country’s capital to promote the export and diversification of coconut through a robust Ghanaian coconut industry.

Ghana’s economy has raked in a lot of revenue from coconut over the years which makes it very important to the people.

On the streets of Accra, it is not uncommon to sight a coconut vendor serving fresh coconut fruit to one or two consumers. These vendors usually display the coconuts in a wheelbarrow or some hawk them in pans on the streets.

The coconut water is a quick refreshing water to have on sunny days.

Coconut seller

After consuming the water, the vendor then cracks open the hard shell of the fruit and splits it three way to reveal the flesh. This is then scooped with a makeshift scoop out of the exocarp. There are bottled coconut milks or water in shops in Accra.

The nutritional value of coconut water or milk and flesh ranges from it being a good source of fibre to having minerals like iron, selenium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and phosphorous. It also contains vitamins such as vitamin C, E, B3, B5, and B1.

Coconut oil is said to be one of the best in the world, according to researchers. It has healing properties such as the prevention of skin infection, removal of dark circles under eyes, gives the skin a natural and softer feel and it is a good moisturizer for the skin and hair. Not forgetting that it aids in the prevention of dandruff.

Coconut oil is also an integral ingredient in many traditional Ghanaian medicines. When one has diarrhea, it is one of the quickest ways to keep them hydrated.

It also alleviates bronchitis, dysentery, flu, asthma, ulcers, irregular or painful mensuration and kidney stones.

For the ‘Year of Return’ folks, grab one bottle of coconut oil from any local vendor to protect your skin from sunburn and naturally improve your skin tone. Scars, burns and blisters can fade with the continuous application of coconut oil.

The price of coconuts has moved from 50 Ghana pesewas (10 cent) to 2 Ghana cedis and some even sell one fruit for 3 Ghana cedis.

The plant is grown across coastal towns such as Western region’s Cape Three Points, Keta and Glidzi in the Volta region, the Woe-Tegbi-Dzelukope corridor, Ampain; just about 60 km from the Ivorian border and the Efutu Breman and Gomoa West District in Central region, also some at groves along the coastline and inland zones.

Mr Davis Korboe, the Chairman of the Ghana Chapter of the Africa Coconut Group said “coconut could grow effectively everywhere and there is the need for many more Ghanaians to venture into the production of coconut on a large scale to help rake in a lot foreign exchange through its exports.”

The Cape Saint Paul Wilt is the main disease that affects the production of coconuts, according to coconut farmers in Ghana since 1932.

Cape Saint Paul Wilt

“It results in premature nut dropping and blackening of immature flower heads. Then yellowing or in some instances browning of the crown which dries up and falls off, leaving the ‘telephone pole’ figure.”

Effect of Cape Saint Paul Wilt

However, the government has measures in place to counter the effects of the disease. Coconut lovers can still grab the fruit from any street vendor and enjoy the nourishing fruit and all its added benefits.

The best time to drink coconut water to reap its maximum benefits

Coconut water is replete with antioxidants. Drinking coconut water helps in fighting fatigue and exhaustion. It helps with quick digestion and prevents bloating after a meal.

Have it in the morning on an empty stomach to boost metabolism. Coconut water has been regarded as a miracle drink by many.

It is one of the best drinks to combat the summer heat and also serves as a powerful natural sports drink for an instant boost of energy. It is low in calories and contains natural enzymes and minerals like potassium that make it a super drink.

While it is good to sip on fresh coconut water any time of the day, drinking it at the right time can definitely double the health benefits that you can derive. Now if you have decided to live your life the ‘healthy way’ why not be doubly sure, right?

Read also GEPA CEO applauds women in the coconut value chain

Here’s everything you need to know about the best time to drink coconut water to reap the maximum benefits.

What is the best time to have coconut water?

Unlike other drinks, there’s no one best time to have coconut water. You can enjoy it during the day and even at night, but drinking it at some specific times does certainly help.

Drink it early morning on an empty stomach
Drinking coconut water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach can help in many ways. Coconut water contains lauric acid, which helps in boosting your immunity, kick-starting your metabolism, and facilitating weight loss.

Pregnant women are often recommended to have coconut water to fight dehydration and constipation. It also helps relieve morning sickness and heartburn, which are common symptoms of pregnancy.

Read also Healthy Living: All you need to know about coconut water

Before or after a workout
As shared earlier, coconut water is a great natural sports drink that helps in hydrating your body and boosting energy before a workout. Whereas after a workout, coconut water helps in replenishing the lost electrolytes during the intense session.

Drinking coconut water helps in fighting fatigue and exhaustion and is one of the best energy-boosting drinks. Drinking coconut water helps in fighting fatigue and exhaustion.

Pre and post meals
Drinking a refreshing glass of coconut water before a meal makes you full and thus, prevents overeating. It is low in calories and easy on the stomach. Drinking coconut water acts as a digestive.

It helps in quick digestion and prevents bloating after meals. Regular consumption of coconut water also helps in maintaining the electrolyte balance in your body and thus, keeps your blood pressure in control and improves digestive functions.

Before going to bed
The sweet and pleasant fragrance of coconut is known to have a psychological effect that helps diminish anxiety and slows our heart rate.

Sip some coconut water before hitting the bed to fight stress and calm your mind. Moreover, drinking coconut water at bedtime may help in flushing out all the toxins and cleansing your urinary tract, thus preventing infections and kidney problems.

Read also Coconut has huge potential to widen Ghana’s foreign exchange earnings – Minister

Great hangover cure
Did you know that a glass of coconut water is one of the best home remedies to get rid of a hangover? Alcohol causes dehydration which may lead to a headache and a nauseous feeling the next morning.

Coconut water helps in fighting both and also restores the lost electrolytes making your feel better.

Coconut water is packed with essential nutrients like potassium, manganese, Vitamin C, calcium, and dietary fibers that make it a very healthy and refreshing drink.

Healthy Living: Benefits of drinking sufficient water

Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being, but many people do not consume enough fluids each day. Perhaps it is the ubiquitous nature of water that means drinking enough each day is not at the top of many people’s lists of priorities.

Water indeed is essential for all life on, in, and above the Earth. Water is important because human beings are made up mostly of water. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water.

Drinking water on an empty stomach in the morning can be immensely beneficial for the body!

We tend to complicate things when it comes to taking care of our health. A few simple steps can go a long way in taking care of our health, and one easy way of ensuring it is by drinking sufficient water on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

Not only does it clear your stomach, but it also goes a long way in reducing the risk of a number of diseases.

Read also Healthy Living: The health benefits of parsley herb

Water purifies the colon and it improves the stomach’s chances to absorb nutrients properly. A better digestive system automatically takes care of a lot of other things.

It is also one of the secrets behind glowing skin, as water removes the toxins from the blood.

Drinking water also improves the creation of new blood cells as well as muscle cells and helps you in losing weight.

Also, make sure not to eat anything for a while after you drink water in the morning. This water treatment therapy has no side effects and boosts your metabolism greatly.

About four glasses of water (one litre) on an average daily would be great. If it feels too much in the beginning, you can start off slowly and then gradually increase the intake!

To function properly, all the cells and organs of the body need water.

Here are some reasons our body needs water:

  1. It lubricates the joints

Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80 percent water. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.

  1. It forms saliva and mucus

Saliva helps us digest our food and keeps the mouth, nose, and eyes moist. This prevents friction and damage. Drinking water also keeps the mouth clean. Consumed instead of sweetened beverages, it can also reduce tooth decay.

Read also Healthy Living: The health benefits of parsley herb

  1. It delivers oxygen throughout the body

Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.

  1. It boosts skin health and beauty

With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.

  1. It cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues

Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.

  1. It regulates body temperature

Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the skin’s surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates, it cools the body. In sport.

Some scientists have suggested that when there is too little water in the body, heat storage increases and the individual is less able to tolerate heat strain.

Having a lot of water in the body may reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during exercise. However, more research is needed into these effects.

7, The digestive system depends on it

The bowel needs water to work properly. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. This increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.

  1. It flushes body waste

Water is needed in the processes of sweating and removal of urine and feces.

  1. It helps maintain blood pressure

A lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.

  1. The airways need it

When dehydrated, airways are restricted by the body in an effort to minimize water loss. This can make asthma and allergies worse.

  1. It makes minerals and nutrients accessible

These dissolve in water, which makes it possible for them to reach different parts of the body.

  1. It prevents kidney damage

The kidneys regulate fluid in the body. Insufficient water can lead to kidney stones and other problems.

  1. It boosts performance during exercise

Dehydration during exercise may hinder performance.
Some scientists have proposed that consuming more water might enhance performance during strenuous activity.

More research is needed to confirm this, but one review found that dehydration reduces performance in activities lasting longer than 30 minutes.

  1. Weight loss

Water may also help with weight loss, if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. “Preloading” with water before meals can help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.

  1. It reduces the chance of a hangover

When partying, unsweetened soda water with ice and lemon alternated with alcoholic drinks can help prevent overconsumption of alcohol.

How Donny van de Beek played through pain to help united win

Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek made his first Premier League start on Sunday and the Dutchman was brilliant, against a Southampton side that made their presence known.

From the outset, it was clear the Saints would not hold back in their tackling and the Reds had to negotiate several robust challenges throughout a competitive match at St Mary’s Stadium.

Bruno Fernandes was on the receiving end of a particularly late tackle from Oriol Romeu in the first half and, thankfully, the Portuguese magnifico was unhurt, allowing him to score our vital riposte that led to Edinson Cavani’s brace sealing a remarkable 3-2 comeback victory on the south coast.

Van de Beek completed the game and was ecstatic at full-time, following a display of great fighting spirit and togetherness from United. His dynamic display in midfield deserves plenty of praise, too, capping an excellent week for him, following a similarly impressive outing against Istanbul Basaksehir.

After the final whistle, in-form Donny used his official Instagram account to share a photo of his heavily swollen left ankle – alongside a cheeky caption of “Welcome to the Premier League”.

Donny’s first Premier League start for United came with a swollen ankle.
United’s next match, is of course, against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and the Reds are determined to secure a positive result at Old Trafford, to earn our qualification from Group H.

Van de Beek came on a substitute in this season’s memorable 2-1 victory over the Ligue 1 champions in France, but it remains to be seen if the talented 23-year-old is available to feature this time around.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is due to hold a pre-match press conference at the Aon Training Complex on Tuesday and the manager may provide an update on the Dutchman’s ankle.

The exact timing of that media briefing will be confirmed in due course, but, as always, you can watch it live via Manchester United’s Official App, ManUtd.com and MUTV.

Key NORC report on child labour within cocoa supply reveals significant concerns still remain

According to confectionery production, there’s rarely a week within the confectionery and wider food and drink market that passes without a major breaking issue that proves of significant impact, and offers the industry plenty of reason to take a step back and reflect.

The past few days have been no exception to that with the release of the US-based NORC report into the prevalence of child labour in the cocoa supply chains of key markets in Ghana and Ivory Coast, as well as examining how the sector has moved to take a stand on the issue.

So the individual efforts of companies such as Nestle, Cargill, Hershey, Olam, Barry Callebaut, Mars, Ferrero, and Mondelez International, as well as organisations such as Fairtrade, have all been pushing to help make key inroads into reducing what remains a hugely troubling reality at the heart of the industry.

As anyone who has read the pages of Confectionery Production over the past few years in particular will have taken note of the fact that this relatively small group of major players have undoubtedly recognised that direct action has to be put into practice in order to make a difference to this major issue.

The substantial task of eradicating child labour is a huge undertaking linked to wider issues of farmer poverty and environmental concerns over deforestation and climate change that are also proving significantly challenging to address.

So there had been much anticipation surrounding the findings from the NORC report (from a specialist team based at the University of Chicago), on just how much, if at all, child labour had reduced over the past few years.

From a wider industry figure of around 2 million children in child labour within the cocoa sector five years ago, this number had been found to have reduced to just over 1.5 million last year.

While this is clearly to be welcomed, some sector observers have questioned whether this should be much greater.

This is especially the case given the fact that according to the NORC study, the majority of those identified in its latest figures had in fact been exposed to at least one form of hazardous child labour, which industry campaigners have highlighted as an unacceptable situation.

Further complicating matters, according to a group of non-governmental organisations, including Mighty Earth, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has, according to its own evidence, allegedly increased levels of child labour by 15-20% as communities struggle with market conditions surrounding the present Covid crisis.

Therefore, the picture on the ground today is seemingly far from clear, despite the best intentions of all those involved, including the World Cocoa Foundation, which has worked closely with NORC for a linked study to its report on the situation.

As the WCF has previously explained to Confectionery Production, the issue of child labour, as with all other aspects of driving forward the industry sustainably in Ghana and Ivory Coast, will require greater collaborative working in order to meet the ambitious target of completely removing child labour from supply chains. The deadlines for making targets have been pushed back over the years, which only serves to underline the scale of the task at hand.

The keys to unlocking further progress are numerous, but as sector experts have observed, must surely include further substantial investment in rural cocoa communities, combined with action from government and industry to bring about major change sooner rather than later.

Source: Confectionery Production

Major $10 billion income gap for Ghana and Ivory Coast farmers remains a critical sector goal

Delivering on cocoa supply chain sustainability remains the most single pressing task for major players within the confectionery industry, with an especially notable milestone having just been put down.

This came in the form of Mondelez International’s latest sector report, titled No Silver Bullet, which unveiled the staggering statistic that the income gap for farmers working in Ghana and Ivory Coast stands at $10 billion, that would enable 75% of workers to attain a living wage above UN defined poverty levels.

It’s a huge figure by anyone’s standards, but without knowing the precise scale of the problem, then industry, in tandem with governments and other civil society groups will have no full understanding of how to best redress the issue.

So, Mondelez should indeed be commended for at least presenting the case for precisely what needs to be done – and as the title of its study indicates, cross-industry support is the only logical way to address wider systemic issues.

A strong starting point has been seen with the introduction of the Living Income Differential payment in Ghana and Ivory Coast, Africa, which adds a premium of $400 per tonne of cocoa that is intended to go directly to farmers, though this alone won’t solve the situation as many industry observers have noted.

The viability of this scheme also very much hinges on all major players engaging with it to ensure it is a success – which came under the spotlight as it emerged Hershey had unusually bought some of its cocoa supplies via the New York Futures trading market rather than directly from West Africa, though the company has stressed that its 20/2021 season cocoa purchases have in fact been through the LID system.

Clearly, the challenge of cocoa sustainability has been a major concern for many across the sector, which has for the past two decades been grappling with how to help lift millions of farmers out of poverty through a mixture of community support schemes and individual company initiatives.

Related story: Untapped opportunities in the Cocoa Supply Chain; The case of Ghana

Significantly, broader partnership working such as the recently agreed Cocoa and Forests Initiative drawing all the key commercial actors together with government has been seen as the way forward. This was further underlined by research from Fairtrade that highlighted the fact there there was significant overlap with individual company sustainability initiatives.

As last week’s World Cocoa Foundation partnership meeting brought home, this is a hugely complex issue spanning core issues of the urgent need to raise farmer pay, tackle major matters of deforestation and child labour in the supply chain, as well as creating educational and wider community opportunities that only through combined action will result in long-term change for the better.

The key theme for WCF’s virtual event was how to scale up the response to this issue and it offered plenty of food for thought on how that might happen – including strong references to the NORC at the University of Chicago’s study into the extent of child labour (which found 1.56 million youngsters were still affected by the issue), which again signifies the sheer scale of the problem that lies before the industry – which some fear may not be around for a great length of time unless the promising work on building sustainability is seen through to fruition.

Credit: Neill Barston, Confectionery Production editor.

Man United’s Injury Updates: The latest news on David de Gea’s knee injury

David De Gea had to be withdrawn for Manchester United at Southampton, after sustaining an injury in the first half.

On his 501st club appearance – 417 for United and 84 for Atletico Madrid – the Spaniard was forced off and is now a doubt for Wednesday’s crunch Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain.

The goalkeeper crashed into a post as he tried, in vain, to save James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick, which sent the Saints 2-0 up at St. Mary’s.

De Gea finished the first half for the Reds but came off at the interval, with Dean Henderson making his league debut for United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked about the condition of our no.1 during his post-match interview with us.

“A knock just above the knee, so hopefully he’ll be okay for Wednesday, but we don’t know,” Ole told MUTV’s Stewart Gardner, following our dramatic 3-2 win.

“Let’s have a little scan or check tomorrow [Monday], but Dean came on and looked very assured.”

After the match, De Gea posted this update via his official Instagram account: “With a comeback like this one, the knee pain is more bearable! Great work, I’ll be back soon. C’MON – MY TEAM!”

United face PSG on Wednesday and will hope to have De Gea available for selection for the important Group H game.

Read also Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals advice from sir alex Ferguson for strikers as he discusses cavani

Furthermore, Alex Telles came off for Brandon Williams in the closing stages at St. Mary’s, appearing to feel some discomfort around his groin.

Before the victory, Ole also said Paul Pogba could be back for United against the French champions after being unavailable due to an ankle injury.

Scott McTominay also missed the trip to Southampton and Anthony Martial was absent from Sunday’s encounter through illness.

The boss will hopefully provide an update on team news in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reveals advice from sir alex Ferguson for strikers as he discusses cavani

A piece of advice which Sir Alex Ferguson gave to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer many years ago was utilised by Edinson Cavani as Manchester United beat Southampton on Sunday.

The Uruguayan front-man came off the bench to assist United’s first goal before scoring two incredible headers, the last one in injury time, as the Reds came back from two goals down to beat the Saints 3-2 on the south coast.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was obviously impressed with our no. 7’s contribution at St. Mary’s.

“Edinson made a great impact,” Ole told reporters in the post-match press conference.

“He’s one of the best and cleverest movers in the box. He can peel off you, he can get in front of you. Sometimes it works for you and he certainly had an impact today.”

The Reds manager, whose team set a club-record with eight straight away wins in the Premier League, was asked if he saw a lot of himself in Cavani, with our former striker being a renowned impact player for United, scoring more than anyone in hour history when coming off the bench.

“We’re not the same types of players,” Ole explained, before having a cheeky little dig at Edinson for tying his boots in start of the second half.

Read also Manchester United: Edinson Cavani shows that class is permanent

“I’ve not made him, he’s made himself. He reminds me of Andy Cole by the way, with his movement inside the box; he’s so sharp, clever, great timing.

“He’s not learned off me because he wasn’t ready when the second half started. I was always ready and had studs on, so he made us wait a little bit too much for my liking!”

Particularly, the manner in which Cavani scored his match-winning goals, pleased the boss. It reminded him of something Sir Alex Ferguson used to tell the Norwegian during his playing days at United between 1996 and 2007.

“Sometimes, when we’ve scored goals, it had to be the ‘perfect’ goal, walking it in, with an extra pass and great skill,” our manager said.

“Edinson has been around the block and scored so many goals and played football for so long. He’s been between those posts so many times, he’s seen this game before, he’s scored that goal before.

“He knows exactly where to move and his best friend in the box is what Sir Alex always used to tell me: ‘Your best friend in the box is space’, and he gets into that space with perfect timing.”

Ole is glad Edinson provides competition, experience and a different alternative to our other forwards. So far, the Uruguayan has scored three times for the Reds.

“He’s got all the attributes for a top-class footballer,” explained the manager. “And human being.

”He’s had a great career and scored goals wherever he’s been. He’s so professional, so meticulous in his preparation, in his recovery, what he does at meal-times, before the game, during the game. So I was surprised when he didn’t have his boots on when the second half started.

Read also Manchester United players praise the striking instincts of Edinson Cavani

“Also, to have a focal point in the box is important for us, we’ve not really had that since Romelu [Lukaku] left. Anthony [Martial], Marcus [Rashford], Mason [Greenwood], they’re different types of forwards. He gives us a great balance and a mix, so we wanted to mix it up and had an impact.“

The next chance for Edinson to add to his goal tally will be on Wednesday when his former club, Paris Saint-Germain, visit Old Trafford for the fifth group game in Group H. Ole’s men only need a point to secure qualification to the knock-out phase. Kick-off is 20:00 GMT.

Source: Manchester United

Marcus Rashford wins award for his campaign to end child poverty

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford has received another award for his work raising awareness of child food poverty in the UK.

Rashford, who has spoken of going without food as a child, helped ensure that about 1.3 million children in England were able to claim free school meal vouchers in the summer holidays.

Further campaigning saw the Government announce more than £400 million to support poor children and their families in England.

Read also Manchester United players praise the striking instincts of Edinson Cavani

After being made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, the 23-year-old has now won the Sports Journalists’ Association’s (SJA) Sport for Social Change award.

“Marcus Rashford has shown maturity beyond his years, highlighting again the influence footballers can have in society,” SJA Chair Ashley Broadley said. “He has now become a hero off the football field.”

Read also Manchester United: Edinson Cavani shows that class is permanent

Former United midfielder Lou Macari was also named as one of four recipients of the award, along with Ebony Rainford-Brent and Dons Local Action Group – a volunteer group linked to AFC Wimbledon.

Manchester United players praise the striking instincts of Edinson Cavani

Manchester United fans were excited by the actions of their club’s striker Edinson Cavani. Cavani stole the show for Manchester United yesterday.

The striker came off the bench at half-time with his side trailing 2-0, before registering an assist and grabbing a brace, to take all three points home.

It was an emphatic performance from the 33-year-old, who showed that class really is permanent. His hold-up play brought the Red Devils back into game, after a sluggish and tentative showing in the first-half.

Cavani’s link-up play was praised by fans and pundits, but so too was his goal scoring instincts. Both his goals came from flash headers inside the box, with his movement in the area being too hot to handle.

Club captain Harry Maguire pinpointed this aspect of the forward’s game, claiming that Cavani is at a level not many others can reach.

Speaking after the win (h/t Goal), he stated: “His movement when the ball is wide is to a level that not many strikers can reach. He is always on the move, always getting across people and that’s why he has always scored goals. So if there are any strikers out here wanting to learn and watch, I am sure they are studying his movement and what he has done in his career.

Read also Manchester United: Edinson Cavani shows that class is permanent

“He is great for our strikers to learn from him in training, because he is a nightmare to mark in training as well. Every day he is making those runs across you and we have seen today his movement is very, very good.”

One player who is going to benefit from such movement is Bruno Fernandes, a midfielder that loves to play the ball forward onto his fellow frontrunners.

Cavani assisted the Portuguese international, with the later returning the favour too, despite Bruno claiming it wasn’t a ‘real’ assist.

The playmaker is likely to intentionally find the striker in the future though, as Fernandes claimed himself (via manutd.com). Like Maguire, he was full of praise for Cavani’s poaching instincts: “When you have strikers who move a lot, and they give you the chance to play balls for them, it is really good.

“I think every striker we have gives us options. I don’t want to go on personally about Edi or another player because it’s not fair, but of course Edi has qualities, everyone knows that.

“For me, he’s one of those strikers that can smell the goal as you saw twice. He smelt the goal, you need to have this feeling to score these two goals. As I said some weeks and some months ago, Edi will help us and he is helping already.

“For me, one of the best games he played was against Basaksehir in the Champions League and nobody talks about that because he didn’t score but he did an amazing game. He helps a lot and he will help more and more in the future.”

Should Cavani maintain these habits, the praise will continue to pour in.

Manchester United: Edinson Cavani shows that class is permanent

Eyebrows were certainly raised when Manchester United announced the signing of Edinson Cavani. A name that carries great respect in the game, but a 33-year-old free-agent arriving on deadline day does not exactly fit the criteria of what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been trying to rebuild his squad with.

The fact that the Uruguayan was unavailable for two weeks upon his arrival in England, due to quarantine restrictions, perhaps suggests that he wasn’t the first-choice attacking option – prior to joining, Cavani had been available since August.

After a frustrating summer, how the deal panned out was rather symbolic of just just how incompetent the club’s planning can be, but despite Cavani’s conflicting profile with the fellow younger recruits, there were certainly positives to take with the new signing.

Goals and experience were the two obvious traits that the striker was tipped to inject into United’s squad, and it hasn’t taken long for the side to reap the rewards of the veteran’s presence.

Writing on the back of United’s 3-2 win over Southampton, it’s a difficult task in trying to summarise the striker’s performance into words – no superlative is quite fitting to tribute just how good Cavani was.

In a nutshell, the 33 year old saved the day for the Red Devils. Trailing 2-0 at half-time, United were failing to click inside the final third, with Solskjaer opting for the striker to take centre stage through the middle.

Dropping deep to see the ball, Cavani quickly asserted himself as the team’s focal point, allowing others to work around his touches.

His touchmap below in Southampton’s half (via WhoScored) highlights his desire to sacrifice attacking positions to gain possession, which granted space for the likes of Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes to exploit.

Edinson Cavani touchmap in Southampton’s half
United’s first goal came from Bruno surging inside the box, with Cavani drifting out to the right. The latter picked up the ball unmarked and fed in the midfielder – a much-needed strike to get United back into the game. Prior to the Uruguayan’s introduction, Fernandes’ link-up and presence was relatively scarce.

As the shape inside the final third started to take place, Donny van de Beek’s influence also began to grow, and United began to dictate. It somewhat felt inevitable that a turnaround was going to happen, reminiscent to September 2012 – Robin van Persie was the catalyst that day, and the comeback this time was also lead by an experienced striker up-top.

Cavani’s cameos have quickly shown what his hold-up play can bring to the side, a bit of assurance and neat touches have provided direction in the attacking zones, which is usually comprised of energetic frontrunners, from United’s perspective.

Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Rashford all prefer to maintain a high positioning, running onto through balls and setting a tone from the off with their attacking sprints.

The 33-year-old offers a different dimension, but this doesn’t prevent him from scoring goals. The latter is a crucial aspect as to why the club brought the free-agent in – Solskjaer demands a goalscoring instinct from his frontmen, and Cavani is no doubt the superior man in this department.

Both his goals against Southampton were purely birthed from his own movement – two flash headers inside the area in what can only be categorised at best as two ‘half-chances’. He strived to get inside the area against Everton and was also rewarded, not to mention when he nearly scored with his first-touch for the club against Chelsea.

They say class is permanent, and Cavani no doubt still proudly possesses the label in being a proper poacher. We are very early on in his Old Trafford career, but such qualities will have Solskjaer re-thinking his starting XI.

Upon his arrival, many drew comparisons to the disappointing Falcao. Another household name whose better days are behind him, coming to Manchester for one last pay day and to see out his final years at Old Trafford. This couldn’t be further from the truth. El Matdaor is raring to go.

Source: United Report

Operation 60 Pods Initiative: Why OmniFert is supporting cocoa farmers improve yield

According to Ghana’s Cocoa Regulator, COCOBOD, 83 per cent of all cocoa tree stock in the Nankese District of the Eastern Region have been infected by the swollen shoot virus disease (CSSVD).

This, according to the experts, coupled with unsanitary farming practices may not only have drastic implications for the future of the once vibrant cocoa district but could also seriously affect families and completely extinct Cocoa in the district.

This year sees the launch of ‘Operation 60 Pods’ an initiative to engage Cocoa farmers in the Nankese District to make a difference to protect the future of their children.

Operation 60 pods per cocoa tree will focus on the positive contributions farmers can make to create sustainable farm practices.

The Operation 60 Pods and Treat Your Disease Farm Now will ensure that farmers give out their disease farms to be treated, and afterwards commit to good agronomic like timely weeding and effective pruning.

Already, the initiative is projecting that at least every farmer should be able to have 60 pods of cocoa on every single tree and thus should be able to realise twelve bags of Cocoa with just 400 trees per acre.

An acre of a well lined and pegged farm contains about 435 cocoa trees, 60 pods on a tree could sum up to a total of 26,100 pods.

Read also How young Entrepreneurs can tap into the USD100 billion Cocoa Sector

A farmer may need 1,500 pods to produce a bag of 64 kilogramme of Cocoa. Therefore, an estimated 26,100 pods will produce 17.4 bags which in turn translates into a whopping GHc 11,484 at the current farmgate price of GHc660 per bag.

“Every cocoa tree has the capacity of producing 240 pods, so we are going the very minimal way, that if a farmer should use prompt weeding and effective pruning without fertilizer application, without pollination, the farmer is able to make the minimum 60 and hence 12 bags should he have 400 trees”, District Cocoa Officer, Abednego Asante noted.

The Nankese District currently has 15,000 estimated Cocoa farmers with an average farmer land-holding size of 0.75 hectare which Mr Asante says is far above an acre, with 400 trees.

Read also Untapped opportunities in the Cocoa Supply Chain; The case of Ghana

He, however, knows that the challenges with getting farmers to agree to cut down all their trees and to be replaced with a disease-tolerant variety will be enormous as most farms belong to families who sometimes have used their farms to secure loans.

“One of the challenges we have is that, here, the farm will be infested with this virus but yet you see some number of pods on the farm, hence the farmer feels reluctant to release it”, he stressed.

To address this challenge, the sector regulator, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) will pay a compensation of a GHS1,000.00 per hectare and plant plantain suckers to help raise the seedlings along with labour and help farmers to maintain the farm for two years before handing it over.

“Averagely 18 months, the hybrid we are having should start fruiting, and even in our district, we have 15 months treated farm which has started fruiting. So we are saying that the district is down but not out.

“If the farmers will buy into our campaign and release their farms to be treated and replaced, so “Operation Treat Your Farm Now” is to restore hope.

Read also Olam showcases DeZaan Ghana single origin cocoa powder at Fi Europe Connect

“Because we know that if every family has a cocoa farm, the family has hope, but the hopes will be dashed once we allow the disease to bring it down. But allowing it to be treated and replaced means we are bringing back the hope of the family”, said Mr Abednego Asante.

The “Operation 60 Pods” productivity initiative is being undertaken in partnership with OmniFert Limited, a total Agri solutions provider.

OmniFert as part of its long-standing aim of improving the lives of the Ghanaian farmer has been providing nutritional and crop protection formulations to protect the cocoa bean and increase the bean per pod and even ensure more pods per tree.

Business Development Manager for OmniFert, Mr Dominic Donkoh explained why OmniFert is supporting the project.

“We have a unique formulation for Cocoa production which is 7/32/20, it means that it has 7 per cent of nitrogen, 32 per cent of phosphorus and 20 per cent of potassium which is very unique and needed, very essential in cocoa production”, Mr Donkoh observed.

Read also Ghana COCOBOD launches ‘Operation 60 Pods and Treat your Farm’ productivity initiative

He continued, “so if we are able to provide the farmers with this unique formula and also, we have one of the best crop protection products on the market, both for fungus and insects, a combination of all these will really contribute to the farmer achieving the said target of 60 pods per tree or even more”.

OmniFert has for the past two years been visiting all cocoa growing areas and cocoa cooperatives to give technical support services and necessary inputs.

Mr Donkoh said their involvement with the program will only augment their strategy to reach more farmers and increase their yield per hectare.

Operation 60 pods per Cocoa tree when fully imbibed by farmers in Nankese will produce about 22,000 metric tonnes of Cocoa in a season, this means that Ghana could be hitting 1.5 million metric tonnes if the practice is replicated in all its 70 Cocoa districts of the country.

Ghana COCOBOD launches ‘Operation 60 Pods and Treat your Farm’ productivity initiative

Cocoa farmers in Ghana stand to rake in some whooping Gh¢11,484 from every acre of farm if every tree on their farm is supported to produce at least 60 mature pods.

An acre of a well lined and pegged farm contains about 435 cocoa trees and if each tree produces 60 pods, a total of 26,100 pods is expected to be harvested by the farmer.

On the average, dry cocoa beans from about 1,500 mature pods make up a bag of 64kg of cocoa.

This implies that by dividing the estimated 26,100 pods by a projected 1,500 pods means that 17.4 bags of cocoa will be achieved by the farmer.

Furthermore, 17.4bags at the current GHc660 price per bag of cocoa, will translate into a total of Gh¢11,484.

This arithmetic analysis formed the basis of a 35-minute address delivered by the Executive Director of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED) Dr. Emmanuel Nii Tackie Otoo at the launch of ‘Operation 60 pods and Treat your Farm’, a productivity initiative rolled out by the Nankese Cocoa District of the Eastern Region to improve cocoa production in the district.

Addressing the over 1,500 members of various farmer cooperatives who had converged at Nankese for the launch, Dr. Nii Tackie Otoo lauded the Operation 60 pods initiative and called on cocoa farmers to use the knowledge acquired from various Farmer Business School Programmes to enhance their perceptions about cocoa farming and also adopt more entrepreneurial strategies.

Operation 60 pods initiative

Citing the Mass Pruning and Hand Pollination recently introduced by COCOBOD as examples of flagship programmes of COCOBOD, he said farmers who hired extra hands (professional pruners and pollinators) to prune and pollinate their farms have experienced significant increase in yields.

Read also How young Entrepreneurs can tap into the USD100 billion Cocoa Sector

He further stated that COCOBOD would engage more pollinators and equip them with relevant logistics to enable them pollinate more selected farms as the programme scales up.

He encouraged farmers to augment the efforts of COCOBOD by ploughing back portions of gains and revenues arising from the new producer price of GHc660 for the 2020/21 crop year into their operations to maintain their farms and improve yields.

Dr. Nii Tackie used the opportunity to explain the incentive package associated with the National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme and called for massive support from farmers.

He indicated that both the farm owner and land owner will each get GHc1,000.00 for every hectare of farm cut out and treated in addition to other free maintenance package and agronomic support services from COCOBOD.

He encouraged the farmers to cooperate with the CSSVD treatment team when the programme commences in the district in their own interest.

Touching on the on-going Cocoa Management System and the great opportunities it provides for farmers, the CHED boss implored farmers to avail themselves when the exercise commences in their Region.

Read also Untapped opportunities in the Cocoa Supply Chain; The case of Ghana

He particularly indicated that scale adjustment and other forms of cheating which occur during farmers’ dealings with purchasing clerks and other actors in the value chain will be wiped off completely to protect farmers’ income.

Dr. Nii Tackie encouraged the cooperatives to ensure transparency and honesty and assured them of Management’s support to enhance their farm operations and livelihoods.

On his part, the Nankese District Cocoa Officer, Mr Abednego Asante bemoaned the high apathy of farmers in the district and expressed optimism that the initiative would engender and whip up their interest to take up their farming activities with much seriousness.

He outlined series of planned engagements as part of a broader action plan to make the programme a success.

Mr. Benjamin Larweh, Principal Officer of the Public Affairs Department, COCOBOD, educated the farmers on the health and nutritional benefits of consuming unsweetened cocoa and charged them to encourage their children to also consume cocoa in all its processed forms for cognitive development and academic excellence.

Untapped opportunities in the Cocoa Supply Chain; The case of Ghana

At this year’s Ghana Cocoa Awards event, the CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, revealed that the cocoa supply chain is worth more than US$100 billion.

Despite Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire cumulatively accounting for over 60% of global cocoa bean production, Joseph Boahen Aidoo says both countries together earn less than 5% out of the US$100 billion. This is due to the lack of enough value added to the cocoa bean.

“The actual worth of cocoa is found in the secondary and tertiary levels of the product within the value chain,” he said.

“When cocoa is processed, then value is added, that is where the money is,” he further said.

He envisions the day where the streets in Accra will be blocked on Chocolate Day for young entrepreneurs to showcase their skills in cocoa value addition, and young graduates transform the cocoa bean into valuable products and sold to restaurant chains and hotels.

Read also How young Entrepreneurs can tap into the USD100 billion Cocoa Sector

He throws the challenge to young and aspiring entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunities cocoa offers, to grab their piece of the almost US100billion worth of the global cocoa value chain

To name three, Decorkraft, fairafric, and Ohene Cocoa are some pacesetters in cocoa value chain businesses. Having successfully braved the odds, these businesses add value to cocoa by processing to sell to the local and international markets.

Opportunities in Cocoa – African and Asia Markets
According to Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Europe and America are currently not a lucrative market for cocoa. They are consuming less chocolate not because of cocoa, but because of the sugar content.

This is as a result of the aging population in those regions. The current median age of the population in Europe is 43 and that of the UK is 40.

Asia, particularly China, on the other hand, provides a suitable target market for value added cocoa products. There are “over 700 million people in China who are moving into the middle class” and their lifestyle changes are causing the demand for chocolate to rise.

Besides, China has a median age of 32 years. Joseph Boahen also recommends India as a favourable target market for young entrepreneurs who may enter Ghana’s cocoa industry.

Africa, however, holds the greatest potential for markets in value added cocoa products. An opportunity that must not be overlooked by upcoming and young entrepreneurs.

“In 15-20 years time, the centre for cocoa consumption will be Africa.” Africa has a population of 1.3 billion with the median age of Africa being 19. This, therefore, calls on the need to promote the consumption of chocolate and cocoa more than anywhere else on the globe”. said Joseph Boahen.

Read also Cote d’Ivoire joins Ghana in threat to pull out of cocoa sustainability programmes

Opportunities in cocoa – Boost in cocoa production
Several measures have been implemented to ensure Ghana’s Cocoa is boosted on the world stage. Joseph Boahen is confident that Ghana can produce 2 million metric tonnes of cocoa yearly within the next 3 to 4 years.

Through “vertical productivity” farmers can now produce lots of cocoa on a small piece of land.

“One acre of land can get you 40 bags,” he said.

The country has registered a tree “having over 2000 pods” of cocoa. Motorized machines and pruners are being introduced to replace the traditional forms of farming such as the use of machete and hoes.

How young Entrepreneurs can tap into the USD100 billion Cocoa Sector

Ghana is the world’s second-largest cocoa-producing country with Nigeria being the biggest consumer of Ghana’s chocolate according to Yofi Grant, CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).

Cote d’Ivoire claims the number one spot as the world’s largest producer of cocoa.

The crop was first introduced into Ghana by Tetteh Quarshie in 1870 and according to Yofi Grant, “between 1890 and 1911 the crop developed into a major export commodity” in the country.

Thereafter, there are numerous opportunities that cocoa offers to the Ghanaian citizenry, especially in business.

The importance of cocoa to Ghana’s economy cannot be downplayed. Cocoa contributes about 30% of total export earnings and about 3.7% to agricultural GPD in the country.

Cocoa directly employs some 1 million people that is, those involved in its primary activities such as planting and harvesting of cocoa beans. This is according to figures from Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC).

For decades, proceeds from cocoa have funded education in Ghana, and the industry is a source of income to a majority of the rural population.

In Ghana, however, there remains massive untapped opportunities in cocoa, which young entrepreneurs can pursue.

Speaking at this year’s Ghana Cocoa Awards held at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City, Yofi Grant, CEO of GIPC said Ghana together with Cote d’Ivoire account for over 60% of global cocoa bean production.

In the 2017 and 2018 crop year, Ghana produced over 1 million metric tonnes of cocoa which represented a near increase of 62% of the crop year figure of about 632,037 metric tonnes.

Despite the huge tons of cocoa that is produced in the county, Yofi Grant expressed his dismay at the country’s ability to only export a total of US$13.4 million worth of chocolate and other cocoa related products to the world.

“This tells us that there is something, there is some anomaly somewhere that we haven’t in the past taken into consideration,” Yoofi Grant said.

Read also Ghana: GEPA assures incentive packages for investors in sugar products

Mr Grant further added “Tossing these bits of data in my head tells me there’s a certain unique opportunity that we haven’t as yet exploited.”

Mr Yofi Grant also expressed his dissatisfaction with Ghana holding its world ranking as the second-largest producer of cocoa bean given its 12th ranking in the global export of cocoa powder in 2019.

As of 2018, Ghana has an untapped supply potential of cocoa paste at US$372 million and that of cocoa bean at US$2.1 billion.

“These numbers tell us we are sitting on a product that despite being the mainstay of the economy has a huge and immense potential which we haven’t as yet actualized,” Yofi Grant said.

According to Yofi Grant, “Moreover, given the largest single cocoa farm of not larger than 120 acres and the average farm size of some 3 acres the industry has a lot of players but its potential remains not fully tapped.”

Ghana’s Cocoa industry holds massive opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to brave the storms, and make a difference in this promising industry.

Untapped opportunities in The Cocoa Supply Chain
At the same event, the CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, revealed that the cocoa supply chain is worth more than US$100 billion.

Despite Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire cumulatively accounting for over 60% of global cocoa bean production, Joseph Boahen Aidoo says both countries together earn less than 5% out of the US$100 billion. This is due to the lack of enough value added to the cocoa bean.

“The actual worth of cocoa is found in the secondary and tertiary levels of the product within the value chain, When cocoa is processed, then value is added, that is where the money is,” he said.

He envisions the day where the streets in Accra will be blocked on Chocolate Day for young entrepreneurs to showcase their skills in cocoa value addition, and young graduates transform the cocoa bean into valuable products and sold to restaurant chains and hotels.

Read also Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development advocates inclusion of agroecology in FASDEP III

He throws the challenge to young and aspiring entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunities cocoa offers, to grab their piece of the almost US100billion worth of the global cocoa value chain

To name three, Decorkraft, fairafric, and Ohene Cocoa are some pacesetters in cocoa value chain businesses. Having successfully braved the odds, these businesses add value to cocoa by processing to sell to the local and international markets.

Opportunities in Cocoa- African and Asia Markets
According to Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Europe and America are currently not a lucrative market for cocoa. They are consuming less chocolate not because of cocoa, but because of the sugar content.

This is as a result of the aging population in those regions. The current median age of the population in Europe is 43 and that of the UK is 40.

Asia, particularly China, on the other hand, provides a suitable target market for value added cocoa products. There are “over 700 million people in China who are moving into the middle class” and their lifestyle changes are causing the demand for chocolate to rise.

Besides, China has a median age of 32 years. Joseph Boahen also recommends India as a favourable target market for young entrepreneurs who may enter Ghana’s cocoa industry.

Africa, however, holds the greatest potential for markets in value added cocoa products. An opportunity that must not be overlooked by upcoming and young entrepreneurs.

“In 15-20 years time, the centre for cocoa consumption will be Africa.” Africa has a population of 1.3 billion with the median age of Africa being 19. This, therefore, calls on the need to promote the consumption of chocolate and cocoa more than anywhere else on the globe”. said Joseph Boahen.

Read also Olam showcases DeZaan Ghana single origin cocoa powder at Fi Europe Connect

Opportunities in cocoa – Boost in cocoa production
Several measures have been implemented to ensure Ghana’s Cocoa is boosted on the world stage. Joseph Boahen is confident that Ghana can produce 2 million metric tonnes of cocoa yearly within the next 3 to 4 years.

Through “vertical productivity” farmers can now produce lots of cocoa on a small piece of land.

“One acre of land can get you 40 bags,” he said.

The country has registered a tree “having over 2000 pods” of cocoa. Motorized machines and pruners are being introduced to replace the traditional forms of farming such as the use of machete and hoes.

Olam showcases DeZaan Ghana single origin cocoa powder at Fi Europe Connect

The global Olam Food Ingredients (OFI) business is set to unveil its deZaan D11MG – Ghana single-origin cocoa powder as it showcases its portfolio at the virtual Fi Europe Connect event, writes Neill Barston.

As the business explained to Confectionery Production, it will be using the online platform – which replaces the FiEurope physical event which has been postponed until next year amid the pandemic, to showcase its series of products across nuts, spices, dairy and coffee.

The group, which was recently formed as a distinct unit linked to Olam International, has specialised in delivering sustainable, natural, value-added food products and ingredients.

Visitors to the online event, which runs until 4 December, are able to freely navigate through interactive zones on the digital platform to access and engage with rich content on OFI’s portfolio of “on-trend” and healthy products, across categories ranging from snacks to beverages.

They can also experience AtSource, the company’s latest insights platform that provides food brands and manufacturers with visibility into their supply chains via 100+ sustainability metrics, as well as action plans to influence these elements for the better.

Read also Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development advocates inclusion of agroecology in FASDEP III

Companies can use these, together with corresponding narratives, to meet sustainability requirements, build brand trust and confidence, report on sustainability initiatives, and transform supply chains.

AtSource is a finalist in the sustainability category at this year’s Fi Europe Innovation Awards.

“Even in a virtual format, our business offerings have never been integrated in a more immersive, compelling way to provide a full flavour of what we can offer and co-create with customers to meet specific tastes and requirements,” said Briony Mathieson, Chief Marketing Officer at OFI.

CEO of OFI, A. Shekhar, added: “True partnerships can lead to extraordinary outcomes, especially when there’s a common goal, shared ethics and the desire to co-create.

“At OFI we strive for innovation across the length and breadth of our value chains. We bring unique solutions combining plant science, provenance and sustainability impact with multiple on-trend food applications, to help our customers differentiate and grow.”

Read also Ghana becomes the first African Country to implement Universal QR Code

OFI’s virtual platform OFIexperience.com is now live and will remain open until after the close of Fi Connect on 4 December, through to mid-January, with new product developments and innovation updates.

Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development advocates inclusion of agroecology in FASDEP III

The Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD), an NGO, is advocating for the inclusion of agroecology in the successor policy of the Food and Agricultural Sector Development Programme (FASDEP III) as part of measures to promote agroecology in Ghana.

The Centre believed promoting agroecology would not only ensure sustainable agriculture among smallholder farmers but would also help reduce the rate of climate change currently experienced in the country.

Addressing participants at a national policy workshop on agroecology in Jirapa on Thursday, Mr Benard Y. Guri, the Executive Director for CIKOD, noted that CIKOD had been collaborating with other organisations, both nationally and internationally, to promote agroecology.

Stakeholders from the agricultural sector including the academia, the state and private sector attended the two-day workshop on the theme: “Agroecology in the Current State of Climate Change and COVID-19: Challenges, Prospects and Policy Implications”.

Mr Guri said for the agroecology advocacy to be successful, they needed to get the concept into policy documents hence the need for the workshop to discuss effective ways to influence policy decisions including FASDEP III, in favour of agroecology in Ghana.

“The whole concept of agroecology, if it is not reflected in the policy, it won’t work. We will only be doing many things on the ground, but if we are to upscale to the national level, then it needs to picture in our policy,” he said.

Agroecology involved a circular system of farming that built on the strength and capacity of the soil with the use of bio-products such as compost and bio-pesticides rather than pesticides and chemical fertilizer, which destroyed the land.

Mr Guri explained that agroecology had been practiced by farmers over the years and needed to be promoted among smallholder farmers who formed about 70 per cent of the agriculture labour force.

He said conventional farming was destructive as it involved clearing tress on the field and excessive use of chemicals, which contributed to climate change and its effects.

“If we are coming up with a national policy it should reflect agroecology, go in the direction of agroecology, promote agroecology rather than industrial agriculture because if you look at the policy as it is now, it is all about industrial agriculture,” Mr Guri stated.

He observed that it was possible to produce food using agroecology where farmers were able to produce without cutting down the trees and without using the chemicals, “and that is what our policy direction should be looking at”.

Dr Sylvester Ayambila, a Consultant to the FASDEP III, noted that the new policy was in line with international policies such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy which sought to promote sustainable agriculture.

Sharing highlights of the FASDEP III, he explained that FASDEP II, which was introduced in 2008 would end this year, hence the need for the government to introduce a new policy that built on the FASDEP II.

He noted that the FASDEP III sought to promote climate resilience and sustainable agriculture which would incorporate agroecology, but that policy implementation in Ghana was a challenge and that could affect the implementation of the FASDEP III.

Dr Ayambila, also a Senior Lecturer at UDS, Tamale, said in order to effectively implement the FASDEP, there was the need for stakeholders in the country to dictate to investors in the agricultural sector to implement programmes and projects in accordance with the policy.

Other presentations focused on Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, the state of agroecology in Ghana and Eco-Agriculture in the Sahel Evaluation Report among others.

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