The Management of AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) Obuasi Mine has implored beneficiary communities to take keen interest in the Climate Resilient Oil Palm Project (CROPP).
Mr Emmanuel Baidoo, the Mine’s Senior Manager in-charge of Sustainability, said they should avail themselves of the technical farming assistance provided by the Project to foster environmentally based best management practices.
This will help improve productivity, expand production, and also reclaim and develop degraded lands into agroforestry oil palm farms.
“The underlying objective is to secure a sustainable climate-smart oil palm production, on and off-farm activities to create opportunities for the people in line with the Mine’s ten-year socio-economic development plan (SEDP),” the Senior Manager observed.
He made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of an orientation workshop that sought to give an overview, implementation strategies and benefits of the CROPP project for stakeholders, at Obuasi, in the Ashanti Region.
The Project, an initiative under the Obuasi Mine’s Agricultural Development Programme, seeks to encourage communities within the mining enclave to be adaptive to alternative farming ventures along the oil palm production value chain.
It is being implemented in collaboration with Solidaridad West Africa, an international organisation that supports the sustainable development of farmers and production systems, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
The initiative will support existing oil palm farmers in the Obuasi Municipality, Obuasi-East, Adansi-Asokwa, Adansi-North and Adansi-South Districts to adopt climate smart practices through capacity building and technical assistance to boost their livelihood.
Mr Baidoo said the mining giant was committed to contributing significantly to Ghana’s emission reduction target through agroforestry by 2026.
According to him, the CROPP was part of the strategy to empower the communities, thereby helping to diversify the local economy, which has over the years been dependent on mining.
So far, some 4, 267 acres of existing farms have been mapped for support under the Project, with assistance being given for the establishment of an oil palm nursery to supply climate-resilient seedlings to farmers.
Ms. Rosemary Addico, Solidaridad’s Manager for the National Initiative for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) Programme, indicated that 30 agricultural extension officers had been trained on best management practices.
They include land preparation, drainage and water management, lining for planting, and the use of agronomic methods and techniques to increase yield to optimum levels while reducing cost.
On the activities lined-up under the Project, the Solidaridad Programme Manager indicated that the supervisors would facilitate seedling supply for planting and undertake regular farm monitoring.
They will also train nursery operators on nursery establishment and management processes, support the development of new farm blocks and support extension staff to train the farmers.
Mr. Daniel Arthur-Bentum, the Economic Development Superintendent, AGA Obuasi Mine, giving an overview, said the Project would help provide technical support towards the establishment of oil palm agro-forestry farms.
Traditional authorities, according to him, were also expected to provide degraded sites for reclamation, while the beneficiary district assemblies played a critical role in helping to identify and educate farmers on best management practices.
The Economic Development Superintendent assured that the AGA Obuasi Mine would mobilise technical and financial partnerships for the effective implementation of the socio-economic initiative.
Ms. Faustina Amissah, the Obuasi-East District Chief Executive (DCE), lauded the AGA Obuasi Mine for its plans to facilitate the setup of an oil palm nursery to supply climate-resilient seedlings to farmers.
This, she said, was a priority in sustaining the livelihood and income of the Project beneficiaries, especially in the era of climate change, which had become a threat to traditional farming.