An 11-Member Council of Patrons of the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG) has been inaugurated in Accra.
The Council, Chaired by Nana Otuo Serebour II, the Paramount Chief of Juaben, will serve as an advisory Board to the leadership of the Association.
Other members include Dr Akoto Osei, Mr Christian Foli, Dr Sylvester Dery, Madam Fatima Ali Mohammed, Neneyo Mate-Kole, Mr Emmanuel Ahiable, Mrs Rosemary Addico, Mr Eric Anang and Mrs Constance Boadi.
Nana Serebour, who is also the Chairman of the Council of State, in his acceptance, speech pledged the readiness of the Council to contribute to the development of the Association.
He advised the members to cooperate with their leaders to effectively push their advocacy campaigns and commended the Management of Solidaridad West Africa for their support towards making the Association.
Mr Samuel Avaala, the President of OPDAG, said the Association had launched a strategic plan from 2020-2024 to improve its governance and administrative structure, as well as funding.
The strategic plan, under the theme: “Creating a Socially Responsible, Ecologically Sustainable and an Economically Vibrant and Inclusive Oil Palm Industry in Ghana,” is also to establish an ‘auditable financial management system’.
He said the plan was developed through collaboration and consensus building with representatives from the oil palm value-chain.
“The strength, weakness, opportunities and threats of the Association and the entire oil palm sector are identified and captured in the plan,” he said.
Mr Ron Strikker, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, said OPDAG was very privileged to have the Chairman of the Council of State, as the Chairman of the OPDAG Council of Patrons.
The Netherlands, he said, was involved in the development of the oil palm sector in West Africa through the Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Programme (SWAPP).
He said the SWAPP was funded by the Netherlands, jointly with the Swiss Government, since the second phase which started in 2018,
“Solidaridad implements it in cooperation with its Ghanaian partners, like OPDAG,” he explained.
“There is much room for improvement of the oil palm sector in Ghana and “we have seen that SWAPP boosts that improvement.”
Mr Strikker congratulated Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana for the important role it played in the advocacy leading to the establishment of the Tree Crops Development Authority.
He expressed the hope that OPDAG would facilitate information sharing and interactions between companies in the oil palm sector in Ghana and the Netherlands.
The Ambassador said notwithstanding the adverse effect of COVID-19 on the Dutch economy and the Government’s finances, they intended to maintain all existing financial commitments – from Aid to Trade – in Ghana.
“We have also supported the fight against COVID-19 by approving (with the Swiss Government) a request from Solidaridad to purchase 20,000 reusable facemasks to distribute to oil palm farmers and processors working with SWAPP II,” he added.