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31.03.2004 Regional News

KNUST Centre to train unemployed youth

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Ho, Mar. 30, GNA - The Centre for Biodiversity Utilisation Development (CBUD) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is to go into the training of unemployed youth, institutions and other groups in grasscutter, snail and indigenous leafy vegetables farming in the Volta Region as from April this year. The training, which would equip beneficiaries with skills for self-employment is under the Skills Training and Employment Placement Programme (STEP) of CBUD.

Mr Emmanuel Bartey, Special Assistant to the Minister for Manpower Development and Employment (MMDE) announced this at an inception and sensitisation forum on the Programme's outlines and benefits to stakeholders at Ho on Tuesday. The forum was under the auspices of the Volta Regional Co-ordinating Council (VRCC), District Assemblies and the MMDE. Mr Bartey said the scheme forms part of government's poverty reduction strategy of empowering the unemployed youths with skills and micro-credit facilities that would make them productive and self-reliant. He said successful applicants would be evaluated and provided with micro-credit financing facility to be accessed from a recognised financial institution. He said the region has tremendous potentials in the areas chosen and urged the people to take advantage of the scheme which has so far been taken up by 6,000 people countrywide.

Mr Bartey entreated the District Chief Executives and their Assemblies to support the scheme to create employment and generate wealth among their people. He said interest and commitment are the only requirements for participating in the programme.

Dr Boakye Amoako-Atta, Director of CBUD of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) said it was the policy of CBUD to make science and technology part of development and employment creation. He said the programme had started yielding dividends in some parts of the country where 60 million cedis worth of snails have been exported to Europe with more demands for the commodity adding that "let us develop a self bread and refrain from looking beyond our borders".

Dr Amoako-Atta said there was ready market for the commodities and would advise the youth to take up the challenge. He noted that formally Volta region was a net exporter of leafy vegetables to the Republic of Togo and Benin but lost this position as these countries are now major exporters of vegetables to France and Germany. Mr Kwasi Owusu-Yeboa, Volta Regional Minister urged the people of the region to embrace the intervention to better their lot.