The Atwima-Mponua District Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), acting in partnership with the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP), has taken steps to provide illegal gold miners in the area with alternative livelihoods through employable skills training.
This comes amid the ban on illegal mining by the government – a move to halt the massive destruction of the environment.
Mr. Benjamin Marfo, the District BAC Manager, said miners at Adobewura, Aniamoa, Ntobroso and other communities would be assisted to go into oil palm, fruit and kernel processing, beads and cosmetic production, leather works, soap making and detergents production.
Added to these are batik, tie and dye, kente and smock weaving, groundnut, soya bean, coconut, cassava and cocoa husk processing, catering, mushroom cultivation, bakery and guinea fowl rearing.
He was speaking at a consultative meeting held by the BAC at Adobewura, which brought together the chiefs, miners, food vendors, farmers, artisans, members of the Association of Small-Scale Industries (ASSI), officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Disaster Management Organization.
They discussed the disastrous impact of mining on the area’s environment and the need to work together to protect the water bodies, forest and farmlands.
Mr. Marfo said the BAC was eager to support those, especially the young people, who depended on mining for survival to find alternative sources of livelihood.
That, he added, was important to remove any temptation of going back to the illegal activity.
He therefore urged everybody to avail themselves of the employable skills training programme to make their lives meaningful.
Mr. Marfo spoke of plans to encourage massive tree planting along the banks of the Offin River, to help recover the lost biodiversity.
The BAC has over the years collaborated with the REP and the district assembly to promote technology transfer and business development in the district.
Mr. Augustine Gakpeto, the District NADMO Coordinator, urged illegal miners to respect the ban on their operation by the government to safeguard the environment.