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09.12.2009 General News

GSOPP admits second batch of farmers

By Alfred Adams & Zambaga Rufai Saminu - Ghanaian Chronicle
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A TOTAL OF 63 farmers have been admitted into the Golden Star Oil Palm Plantation Project (GSOPP) embarked upon by the management of the Golden Star Wassa Mine. This brings the total of farmers who have been admitted into the GSOPP programme to 132.

The GSOPP project, which started last two years, is aimed at reducing poverty, and as well offers employment to the host mining community.

The project is estimated to have cost Golden Star Resources (GSR) a total amount of $18,000, and each of the smallholders has been given four hectares of palm seedlings to raise.

Currently, a total of about 310 jobs have been created for the youth in the Akyimpim and Ateiku community in the vicinity of the GSR.

The project involves traditional authorities who voluntarily offer land freely to become partners of the scheme, without the mining company paying for the land.

The GSOPP also provides funds for the development of the plantation, through the GSR Foundation and other development partners.

Again, the GSR selects smallholders whose livelihoods are affected, as beneficiaries. Under the agreement, the cost of plantation development is treated as a loan to the smallholders.

Currently, a total of 790 units of oil palm plantation with 104,000 oil palm seedlings have been planted, and a total of 5,800 hectares of land has been offered out of the 8,774 hectares promised by the traditional authorities for the project. The farmers also earn a daily wage of $4.20.

Handing over the project to the beneficiary farmers, the Vice President of Golden Star Ghana, Mr. Dan Owiredu, expressed the hope that the GSOPP would continue engaging stakeholders consultations, particularly with respect to its out-grower and smallholder farmers, for final adoption and implementation to improve oil palm production.

He also congratulated the chiefs and the management of the GSR for nurturing the project. Consequently, he urged other mining companies to emulate the shining example of his company, to ensure that stakeholder communities also got to share directly and indirectly in the benefits generated by mining companies.

He also urged the inductee farmers to maintain standards, so as to sustain what has been handed over to them.

The Paramount Chief of the Wassa Fiase Traditional Area, Osagyefo Kwamina Enimil IV, and Osabarima Kwaw Entsie II, who graced the handing over of the GSOPP to the farmers, urged the beneficiary farmers to consider the project as their own, and devote time to sustaining it for the benefit of themselves and the community.

The Operations Manager of the GSOPP, Mr. Isaac Quarm, said the GSOPP believed farming was a science, and as a result adopts best agricultural management.

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