Among other strategies to build the capacity of the youth in Agribusiness, the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) through the School of Agriculture and Technology (SoAT) at the Dormaa Campus has brokered a partnership with Okuafo Pa Foundation to train the young people in the Bono Region and elsewhere with the skill-set in Agripreneurship at the Okuafo Pa Agri-Business Centre located at Kyeremasu near Dormaa Ahenkro.
On February 28, 2023, a team of Management Members from the University led by the Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prof. John K. M. Kuwornu, met with the Stakeholders of Okuafo Pa AgriBusiness Centre to undertake an inventory and to hand over the facility to UENR.
The State-of-the-Art Facility, which was funded by an Italian petrochemical company, ENI, has two administration blocks, 24 fully furnished modern classrooms fitted with solar panels, two big conference rooms, washrooms, staff offices, a clinic, two poultry pens, two greenhouses, one saloon car, two fit for purpose tricycles, acres of cashew and cocoa and vast ploughed land for hands-on agribusiness training.
During the meeting, the Acting Pro VC, Prof. John K. M. Kuwornu expressed his happiness that the training Centre would support the training of the youth in agripreneurship as well as other academic programmes in agribusiness and its related fields. He assured that the Facility would continue to be used for the purpose for which it was established, training young people in the Bono and Ahafo regions on agripreneurship and the skill set needed to promote agriculture and socioeconomic development of the people. The Pro VC also disclosed that there would be a scholarship scheme for students from the region who patronise the certificate courses that the Centre would mount in the coming months and years. The certificate courses in agriculture and agribusiness would be mounted for students who want admission into the University’s Diploma in Agriculture programme.
On behalf of the Okuafo Pa Foundation, Mr. Eric Agyei Gyan said that the training partnership with KNUST trained over 1500 students with skills in agripreneurship on about five commodities (maize, cashew, cocoa, vegetables and poultry) value chain. According to him, the training would have continued had it not been for the covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, he expressed strong confidence in UENR to continue with the purpose for which the Centre was established, which is to improve the socioeconomic livelihoods of the people in the Bono and Ahafo Regions. He further disclosed that UENR is the second academic institution to take over the management of the Facility as the term of the partnership with KNUST ends. He was hopeful that the graduate turnout in agribusiness would scale up in the Region and beyond.
Also in attendance was the Registrar, Solomon Panford, Esq.,APR; Prof. Richard Bannor of the Department of Agribusiness and Consumer Studies, who is also the Vice-Dean of Students at the Dormaa Campus; the District Chief Executive for Dormaa East, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Agyeman; the Provost of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, KNUST, Prof. Ben Banful; Dean of the School of Agriculture and Technology, Dr Samuel Kwesi Asomaning; the HoDs at the Dormaa Campus, other academic Faculty Members and Administrative staff for both Sunyani and Dormaa Campuses as well as the Agribusiness Students Association’s representatives.