Compiled by Alfred Adams
Abosso Goldfields, Damang Mine, through its foundation, has rekindled the spirit and aspirations of cocoa farmers in its catchment areas by supplying them a total of 720 Adwumapa Fertiliser and other agricultural inputs to aid them in cocoa farming.
The programme, known as Goldfields Ghana Foundation Cocoa Support Programme, was piloted this year with a total of 120 cocoa farmer beneficiaries. It has duration of three years.
After three years, the company would evaluate whether or not to continue with the programme or increase the number of fertiliser supplied the farmers.
The objective of the programme is to assist, at least, 100 cocoa farmers each year to acquire approved fertilisers for their farms in order to boost annual cocoa production.
Most of the beneficiaries are coming from the mine’s catchment area, selected from nine communities such as Nyamebekeyere, Bompeso, Aboso, Amoanda and others.
The criteria for the selection of the beneficiary farmers is that the Hunni Valley Cocoa Farmers Association of the Ghana Coffee Sheanut-Farmers Association and the Daman Consultative Mine Farmers Association partner in the shortlisting and inspection of the farms, leading to the selection of the beneficiary farmers.
The method of shortlisting was that announcements were made in all host communities to inform cocoa farmers of the programme.
Each of the beneficiary farmers was selected by the Hunni-Valley Cocoa Farmers Association of the Ghana Cocoa Coffee Shea-nut Farmers at their meetings.
The selection was done in a random manner to ensure that each farmer present at the meeting had an equal opportunity of being selected.
Announcing the package to the farmers at a presentation ceremony at the Hunni Valley Community Center, the Community Relations Manager for GGL Abosso Daman Mine, Mr. Abdel Razak-Yakubu, told the farmers the programme would run for three consecutive years.
After which, an evaluation would be taking to see whether or not to continue or increase the number of the fertilisers.
He said, each beneficiary cocoa farmer would receive six bags of fertiliser and the type of fertiliser the company bought for supply to the farmers was determined by the Hunni-Valley Cocoa Association of the Ghana Cocoa Coffee Shea-nut Farmers Association.
The Community Relations Manager continued that considering the fact that cocoa plays a major role in the economy of the country, the mine decided to support the farmers by way of supplying them the free fertiliser to aid them increase their yields.
He said the mine, through its foundation, has committed resources towards the development of its host communities.
Consequently, the Foundation Cocoa Support Scheme was another way of appreciating cocoa farmers, by way of telling them that cocoa farming and mine could collaborate and work together in the interest of the country.
The Prestea Hunni-Valley Municipal Director of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Mr. Gabriel Adjargo, said for the last two years, he had noticed efforts being made by the GGL to assist farmers in its catchment area, saying, “Today’s cocoa support scheme is praiseworthy.”
He said the significant contribution of the cocoa sector to the economy of the country could not be over-emphasised, and that for more than a century cocoa was cultivated extensively without the use of fertiliser by farmers.
He, however, encouraged all cocoa farmers to adopt the current artificial pollination programme introduced by the government to realise the full potential of the crop.
It will, therefore, be a plus for Goldfields to pilot assisting female cocoa farmers in the Municipality to do artificial pollination on their farms, specifically, to improve their productivity, farm income, food security and self-employment drive in the agriculture sector.
The Chief of Koduakrom, Nana Offei, who chaired the ceremony, thanked the mining company for caring for its catchment area farmers by way of assisting them with the fertiliser.
That, he said, was to show that the company has good working relations with its host communities.
Present at the ceremony were Nana Boakye, Municipal Chief Farmer and Mr. Solomon Ankomah, Chief Farmer of the area.