Five Communities Benefit From Oil Palm Seedlings

Some 2,500 people from five communities in the Pestea/HuniValley District will be supplied with 1.34 million oil palm seedlings to help to reduce the number of people engaged in illegal mining. The seedlings will be free of charge and beneficiaries will come from Huni Valley, Amoanda, Himan, Bogoso and Nsuta-Nbiasi. Mr. Richard Kofi Afenu of the Minerals Commission said this at Amoanda on Wednesday when Mr. Mike Hammah, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources visit the Prestea/ Huni Valley and Tarkwa Nsueam districts. The project which started in 2007, will cover 20,000 hectares of land. Mr. Afenu said initially the development partners cleared the farms for the beneficiaries but due to the increasing number it had been suspended. In addition to the seedlings, free agro chemicals and wire mesh will be provided to the farmers to protect the seedlings from being destroyed. He said the Alternative Livelihood Programme would support mining communities in the long term after mining companies in the area had closed down. Mr. Afenu said the Minerals Commission had made advanced marketing plans with Unilever Ghana Limited to buy the palm fruits from the farmers when harvested. Mr. Hammah appealed to the Minerals Commission to acquire appropriate technology in the near future that could add value to what the farmers produce. He said the technology should be the brand that will suit the local community. Mr. Ben Ayei, Chief Executive Officer of Minerals Commission, said the delay in releasing funds for the project had been their major challenge and appealed to development partners to release the funds on time to enable the Commission run the project effectively. Mr. Kwame Gyasi Sarpong, one of the 30 beneficiaries of the project at Bompieso, commended the development partners and the Minerals Commission for instituting such programme. He appealed to the supporting agencies to assist them with more fertilizers.