AGL distributes farm inputs to 360 farmers in Prestea Huni Valley

Abosso Gold Fields Ltd (AGL) (Damang Mine), through the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation (GFGF), has distributed farm inputs worth over US$80,000 to 360 farmers in the Prestea- Huni Valley municipality of the Western Region.

 The distribution of 407 gallons GreenOKfertilisers, 900 boxes of  AkatePower insecticides and  90 pieces  of  mistblower machines, under its cocoa farmers’ support  programme, is to boost cocoa production in AGL’s host communities.

At the event on Thursday, the Acting General Manager, Abosso Goldfields Limited, Mrs Catherine Kuupol Kuutor, said “The basic objectives of the programme are to select and support 120 cocoa farmers annually with the needed inputs, boost annual cocoa production of beneficiary farmers by at least three per cent and help sustain employment in cocoa production.”

She added that another objective of AGL’s programme was to show that mining could co-exist with farming.

Mrs Kuutor said, since 2018, 600 cocoa farmers, cultivating a combined farm size of 1,200 acres, had benefitted from the programme.

Each beneficiary farmer received support for three consecutive years before exiting to make room for a new batch of 120 farmers, she explained.

She mentioned that AGL had focused on agriculture, specifically
the cocoa sector and through the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation, the company had supported cocoa farmers in the catchment area of the mine with free
cocoa inputs.

This initiative, Mrs Kuutor said, followed government’s policy reforms towards cocoa fertiliser support.

In 2021, AGL, she said the support, included insecticides and fungicides based on  a request by the leadership of the Damang Mine Consultative Farmers’ Association (DMCFA).

She stated “Each of our nine catchment communities will receive a minimum of six machines to be used by all cocoa farmers within the community and
not just those who are beneficiaries of the programme. This approach is to encourage co-operative farming and farmers’ interdependence for technical knowledge.

“The District Office of the Cocoa Health and Extension Division, COCOBOD is to manage the mist blowers. This will be modelled after the government’s mass spraying and sprayinggang structure to ensure proper use and maintenance of the machines.”

Since 2018, Mrs Kuutor indicated that, over US$265,000 had been pumped into the cocoa support programme, adding that, an assessment from the first batch of beneficiaries showed a 33 per cent increase in cocoa production and a seven per cent increase in incomes.

The Acting Vice President (Operations) Gold Fields, West Africa, Mr Michiel van der Merwe, recognised the contributions of farmers to food  production, globally, despite the vagaries of  the weather,  saying “if you have food on your table, thank the farmer.”

Land, he noted, had become scarce due to population increase and suggested that farmers embraced new technologies and innovations to maximise growth and increased production.

The Municipal Chief Executive, Prestea-Huni Valley, Dr Isaac Dasmani said “We can turn our farm products into other products, we can use plantain peels to  produce ‘alata’ soap and  plantain for bread, and, this is  possible; let’s lift  up  our game and enhance  production through  new knowledge.”

Urging the beneficiaries to be proud of cocoa farmers, the Divisional Chief of Bosomtwe Divisional Area, Nana Kwabena Amponsah IV, stated “Don’t demean yourself as a farmer, use the  inputs and don’t starve your farms. Agriculture is now a serious business.”

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, HUNI VALLEY

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