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11.04.2006 Business & Finance

BGL to spend 2.4 billion cedis on SALP

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Prestea (W/R), April 11, GNA - Management of Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL) is to spend about 2.4 billion cedis on its Sustainable Alternative Livelihood Programme (SALP) this year.

Forty per cent of the amount, estimated at about 900 million cedis would be spent on oil palm projects.

Mr Zacharia Issah, Senior Sustainable Livelihood Officer said announced this at the opening session of a two-day Group Executive workshop at Prestea.

Fifty participants drawn from 13 communities within its catchment's area attended the Workshop organised by BGL. They included Bondaye, Mbease Nsuta, Kwame Niampa, Himan, Prestea and Dumase.

It would train the participants in group dynamics, team building, leadership skills and conflict resolution. The workshop would in addition, strengthen groups managing and sustaining the farms, enlighten them to appreciate the essence of SALP and imbue in them the sense of ownership.

Mr Issah said about 280 people had benefited since the oil palm cultivation programme was initiated as a component of SALP in 2002. He said 900 million cedis would be spent on 220 people including 55 new groups for this year, who would cultivate a hectare each year. Mr Issah said BGL supplied the farmers with agricultural inputs like weedicides , cutlasses, pesticides, Wellington boots and seedlings. He said 27,000 oil palm seedlings would be supplied to the farmers this year in addition to 600,000 cedis cash to assist them prepare their farms.

Mr Issah regretted that those who were assisted earlier and expected to cultivate 486 hectares but after inspection 324 hectares were found to have been cultivated. He appealed to the participants to take the programme serious and make it succeed, and not rely solely on the company to maintain the farms.

Mr Issah announced that BGL would soon build a processing plant to assist the farmers to process their farm produce, add value to them to attract good price.

He said Committees had been set up in the communities to select committed farmers to participate in the programme. Mr Yaw Oppong, a beneficiary and Chief Farmer of Himan said the programme was good but the number of farmers should be increased for more farmers to benefit.