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Gold Fields Ghana Limited (Tarkwa mine) has relaunched an oil palm initiative at Abekoase in the Prestea-Huni Valley municipality of the Western Region.
Funded by the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation, the oil palm initiative will improve livelihoods and create employment for people in host communities. The Foundation will invest GH₵822,000 in the initiative.
157 community farmers in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality, of which 40% are women, received more than 23,000 high-yield Tenera seedlings and training in best farm practices to boost yield and incomes.
The farmers will also receive various inputs such as, fertilisers, pesticides, knapsack sprayers, and personal protective equipment.
Speaking at a ceremony, the Regional Sustainability Manager for Gold Fields, Robert Siaw, explained that 17 years ago, the company, in collaboration with host communities and Opportunities Industrialisation Centers International (OICI), implemented a five-year sustainable community empowerment and economic development programme dubbed SEED.
According to him, the programmme focused on education, health and alternative livelihood initiatives. Under the Alternative Livelihood Programme, the best project was the oil palm project and Gold Fields provided selected farmers with high-yield Tenera seedlings for cultivation.
“While we seek to play a role in the sustainable development of our host communities, we are conscious that mining operations will eventually come to an end. Our community investment efforts, therefore, continue to favour long-term capacity building interventions aimed at building human capital and overcoming specific economic constraints to local economic development,” Mr. Siaw said.
“We will also facilitate the registration of farmers with the Promprom Cooperative Credit Union, which was set up for our Youth in Horticulture Production (YouHoP) initiative and to ensure sustainable financing,” he added.
The Municipal Director of Agriculture for Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality, Albert Bonney, commended Gold Fields for reintroducing the oil palm initiative and urged the beneficiaries to use the trainings provided to boost yields and sustain livelihoods.
“I take this opportunity to thank Gold Fields for the support. I hope it would go a long way to help the beneficiary farmers secure their future. I wish to advise all the beneficiary farmers to make the project successful by ensuring that every palm tree bears fruit. This would motivate Gold Fields to increase the number of beneficiary farmers in the future,” said Mr. Bonney.
The theme for the oil palm initiative is “grow oil palm; secure your future”.
Since 2004, the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation has invested over US$90.8 million in several socio-economic programmes, projects and initiatives, in communities in the company’s operational areas of the Tarkwa and Damang mines.