?Newmont Akyem mine has supported a group of cocoa farmers numbering about twenty-five (25) from the Birim North District of the Eastern Region of Ghana withfarm inputs and implementsincluding spraying machines, fungicides, insecticides, wellington boots, fertilizers etc.to improve their cocoa yield. In addition the company is also supporting with agriculture extension services through Organization for Livelihood Enhancement Services (OLIVES) a local NGO in collaboration with Ministry of agriculture.
The support is part of the Livelihood Enhancement and Community Development Programme (LECDEP) which is fully funded by Newmont Akyem mine.The programme started in 2007 and up to date a total of two hundred and forty (240) cocoa farmers have benefited from this development initiative. The programme is mainly a skills development and business support program for all community persons who are not necessarily affected directly by the Newmont Akyem mine project.
The objective of the agricultural support under the LECDEP is to help the farmers put into practice, skills and knowledge acquired from the programme.
In a discussion after the presentation ceremony, the External Relations Manager of the Akyem Mine, Oduro-Kwarteng Marfo intimated that apart from the targeted capacity building to farmers in modern farming practices, the LECDEP initiative also involves skill development in ICT, Heavy Duty Machine Operation, Soap making, bakery, DSTV installation, tailoring and dress making, mushroom production, bee keeping and plant nursery establishment and management etc. He encouraged the farmers to take good care of the farming inputs and importantly use the knowledge from the Agriculture extension officers to achieve high yield from their crops.
Oduro-Kwarteng Marfo also used the opportunity to mention that the Akyem Mine continues to support in major food security initiative through a farming programme dubbed, The Agricultural Improvement and Land Access Programme (AILAP) which till date has supported about 1900 famers in the mine area communities.
A 64-year old beneficiary farmer, Johnson Debrah from Adausena commended Newmont for supporting cocoa farming in the area. ?This support will help ensure high yield and I can make some savings on money I could have used on farm inputs,? Debrah said.
Joseph Saajah, a Community Development Officer representing the Community Development Manager of the Akyem Mine, reiterated the importance of cocoa to Ghana?s economy and advised beneficiaries of the support to use modern farm practices they learn from the Agriculture extension services officers. He added, ?the only way you can say thank you to Newmont is to use the inputs and knowledge on best cocoa practices from the extension officers to improve your crop yields.?
Beneficiary farmers and Newmont Officers at the handover ceremony