The AkyemAbuakwa Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana will in June, this year, begin distribution of 40,000 oil palm seedlings it has nursed to individuals in its 26 congregations who have lands to re-plant them.
It will be the first of l00, 000 seedlings to be supplied free of charge for the next three years to interested individuals and congregations in the Presbytery.
The church expects to cover more than 1,500 acres in the next three years if resources were available to cover many members.
Rev Dr Seth Kissi, chairperson of the AkyemAbuakwa Presbytery, announcing this during a tour of four nursery sites at Asuom, New Abirem, Apedwaand Begoro said the objective was to economically empower the beneficiaries to support their families, the ministry and the church.
Dr Lawrence Aboagye, Lay Representative of the Presbytery at the General Assembly Council and an agriculturist, is the chairman of a three-member committee appointed to oversee the nursing and distribution of the seedlings.
“We of the Presbytery have recognised the many ways in which our members of all sorts of economic classes give in support of the ministry, and church activities and we believe that this gesture can do more to help improve their earnings, be able to take better care of their families’ responsibilities and be better placed to support the ministry and the church”.
Rev.Dr Seth Kissisaid in the first half of last year, the Presbytery distributed 5,600 coconut seedlings to congregations and members who have lands for cultivation of coconut as the first attempt to alleviate poverty among members of the church in the Presbytery.
He said based on the positive response from the beneficiaries the church was encouraged to continue with the supply of the coconut seedlings,but this time on a sound advice from experts, decided on palm seedlings which has greater economic value.
Rev Dr Seth Kissi said a seedling nursed at Sumatra at Kusi, the nursing wing of the Oil Palm Research Institute was GH₵12.00 but cheaper at GH₵7.00 when you buy the seedlings and nurse them for a period of eight to 10 months before planting them.
The Presbytery last year launched a GH₵100,000 Agents Endowment Fund to cater for the welfare of ministers, catechists and others working in the Presbytery.
Rev.DrKissisaid at the launch that most congregations in the Presbytery were in the rural areas and were financially handicapped and agents transferred from one economically challenged area to another impacted negatively on their financial resources.
He said these agents were the bread winners not only to their nuclear families, but also to lots of extended family members and non-biological children.
As a result, the education of their children usually suffered and the children were not able to do well in life to support their aged parents when they retired.