Abosso Goldfields Limited rewards 250 farmers for hard work
5/18/2012 2:02:15 PM -
Damang (W/R), May 18, GNA - As part of efforts to encourage farmers benefiting from the Sustainable Community Empowerment and Economic Development (SEED) programme, on oil palm farming, Abosso Goldfields Limited (AGL), Damang mine, has rewarded 250 farmers for their hard work.
The award winner's received oil palm inputs such as fertilizers, spraying machines and weedicides as their prize.
Speaking at the function, Mr. Robert Siaw, the Sustainable Development manager of Goldfields Ghana said in November 2005, Gold Fields Ghana instituted a five-year community development programme dubbed 'Sustainable Community Empowerment and Economic Development Programme (SEED)' under which primary stakeholder communities were assisted in various interventions with the primary objective of empowering these communities.
He said the strategic objective of the agricultural component was to provide economic development opportunities for individuals and groups in their catchment communities.
According to the sustainable development manager, early this year an assessment on the performance of the beneficiaries' farms was carried out.
He said conditions on the plantations including well pruned, pest infestation, correct spacing and presence of weeds were used as indicators in the assessment.
Mr. Siaw said out of the 343 beneficiaries who were assisted in the Damang communities, farms between 6 per cent and 41 per cent were said to be in excellent or poor condition, while 1 per cent had stopped farming and the remaining 20 per cent were not inspected at all due to inaccessibility.
The sustainable development manager said those awarded this year represented 73 per cent had improved over last year's figure of 57 per cent, adding that most farmers were putting the provision under the scheme to good use.
Mr. Christo Viljoen, general manager of AGL Damang mine, said over GHc97,000 was spent on the items distributed to the farmers.
He said the objective of the award scheme is to reward committed farmers for their efforts in the past year and also to motivate them to continue to excel.
The general manager said plans were underway to undertake training in harvesting, marketing and financing, and credit management for the beneficiaries since most of them had started harvesting.
Mr. Viljoen said an oil palm processing plant will be set up in the communities to process the palm fruits in order to generate higher income.
He said the company will continue to collaborate with the ministry of agriculture to improve on the provision of agricultural extension services in the communities.
The ceremony was used to donate items worth GHc9,0000 to the Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) committee in Damang to enable them to work effectively.