Gold Fields Ghana Foundation has re-launched an oil palm project implemented under the company’s five-year Sustainable Community Empowerment and Economic Development (SEED) programme drawn over seventeen years ago.
The programme among other things, focused on education, health and alternative livelihood with oil palm cultivation identified as the best project under one of its modules. It was dubbed, “Grow Oil Palm, Secure your future”.
Selected farmers who were consequently supplied with high yielding seedlings for cultivation, benefitted from multiple value of the oil palm trees by earning income to pay school fees, build houses and also buy cars for themselves.
These benefits motivated majority of farmers in the host communities to push for re-introduction of the project.
The Daily Statesman gathered that although Gold Fields had planned doing so in 2023, the eager farmers said they could not wait and insisted on this year.
In a brief re-launching address at Abekoase in Tarkwa-Nsuem Municipality, the Sustainable Manager at Gold Fields, Robert Siaw, stressed that the project is back with lessons learnt from the many challenges encountered during the SEED era.
He said the project is aimed at sustaining livelihood of farmers in host communities like Pepesa, Huniso, Teberebe, Samahu, New Atuabo and Abekoase.
Mr Siaw disclosed that 157 out of 285 farmers who showed interest, had been selected for this phase and supplied with over 23,000 high yields Tenera seedlings, which had already been cultivated.
Various inputs including fertilizers, weedicides, sprayers, pesticides and wellington boots were also distributed to them at the re-launch.
This followed series of community engagements and training by Agric extension officers on modern farming practices to ensure that the beneficiaries reap bountiful harvests. Mr Siaw also revealed that the company has, so far, spent GH 822, 000. 00 on inputs and trainings organized for the farmers.
He further disclosed that forty percent of the beneficiaries are women, an indication that Gold Fields is committed to affirmative action.
The Sustainable Development Manager said Gold Fields is also very much aware of the role of sustainable financing in this endeavor, hence facilitating the registration of all farmers under the ‘Promprom Credit Union’ to assist a group in another project dubbed, “YouHoP” as well as all host community residents to access a reasonable cheap finance for their activities.
He assured the residents of commitment on the part of Gold Fields in ensuring that its community investment efforts continue to favor longer term capacity building intervention aimed at building human capital and overcoming specific economic constraints.
The Community Affairs and PR Manager, Florence Ansere-Bioh, described Gold Fields as a listening company which will ensure that residents in all host communities benefit from the Mine, even at the end of its lifespan.
Mr. Albert Bonney, the Prestea-Huni-Valley Municipal Agric director, advised the beneficiary farmers to put their training into practice to ensure that their cultivated oil palm trees bear required fruits.
He said this will motivate management of Gold Fields to increase the number of beneficiaries in the next phase of the project.
The chief of Brahabobom, Nana Kwesi Ansah, commended the mining company for its numerous Corporate Social Responsibility projects to better the lives of residents in the host communities.
He therefore appealed to government to consider exempting Gold Fields from tax payment so that that money could be spent on more projects for the people.