Solidaridad has begun a two-week digital training programme for small and medium oil palm processing companies to enable them to attain the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification in Ghana. 

The RSPO certification is a global standard that assures consumers that the palm oil is of good quality and was produced in a sustainable manner.  

The training programme aims to build the capacity of selected oil palm processing companies to understand and adopt the requirements of the RSPO standard. 

Amid COVID-19, the training is being offered via Whatsapp, Google Hangouts and Google Classroom. 

The training facilitators use WhatsApp, a text and voice messaging application, to give general information to the trainees. Training contents are delivered on Google Classroom, an online teaching and learning platform.

It also allows for the delivery of training contents and exchange of assignments and documents between the facilitators and the trainees.

Class presentations also take place on Google Hangouts,  a voice and video messaging application.

The 38 training beneficiaries will be taken through the Ghana National Interpretation of the RSPO Principles and Criteria, how to conduct a baseline assessment, develop action plans and prepare smallholder farmers towards certification.  

Solidaridad is organizing the training under the second phase of the Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Programme (SWAPP II), which  seeks to transform the oil palm sector in West Africa through ensuring sustainable production by building the capacity and increasing the incomes of farmers, processors and other workers in the oil palm value chain. 

“As consumer goods manufacturers commit to buying only RSPO certified crude palm oil effective 2020, Ghana cannot afford to be left out of the sustainable palm oil supply chain.

“This is why Solidaridad is preparing the oil palm processing companies to meet the requirements,”.  says Rosemary Addico, Oil Palm Programme Manager for Solidaridad West Africa.  

“Even though we have to adjust our regular mode of delivering training due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are happy to note that the participants are eager to learn and actively participate in all discussions,” she added.

Commending Solidaridad for the initiative, Isaac Ampofo, Managing Director of Nat-K Royal Company Limited, a beneficiary of the training says they are excited at the prospect of meeting RSPO standards, which will lead to the expansion of their market base. 

Solidaridad is organizing the two-week training in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Ghana, through its Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP). 

Implemented with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the programme is working to support companies in the oil palm value chain to enhance their access to markets. 

Following the training, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization will provide experts to work with the oil palm processing companies to bridge the gaps identified during the individual baseline assessments after the E-training.

Solidaridad’s Sustainable West Africa Palm Oil Programme (SWAPP), which is in its second phase of implementation, is funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Ghana and the Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana, Benin and Togo through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).