AngloGold Ashanti Ghana, Obuasi Mine has supported 150 farmers drawn from 20 communities in the Obuasi Municipal and Obuasi East District as part of the Community Farming Support Project launched on Thursday, 2nd March 2023.
The Gh500,000 investment project is geared towards providing alternative livelihoods to the company’s host communities and support food security in obuasi and its environs.
The CFSP is another Agric intervention program rolled out by AGAG after it launched and implemented the Obuasi Goes Agro program in 2020.
The mining company supported the beneficiary farmers with Agric inputs such as Vegetable seeds (Pepper, Tomatoes and Garden eggs), Weedicide, Insecticides, Fungicides, NPK fertilizer and Sulphate of Ammonia.
Some farmers who successfully took part in the Obuasi Goes Agro were also awarded by the company.
The project will facilitate the cultivation of atleast 200 acres of maize by 100 farming households and facilitate the cultivation of 25 acres of vegetables for 50 women farmers. It will also enhance the capacity of 150 beneficiary farming households in good agronomic practices and will facilitate and enhance market access for farm produce.
The lack of adequate employment opportunities outside of mining is a major challenge in Obuasi, especially among the youth. While farming is a viable economic livelihood, it is not an attractive option for many because of the myriad of challenges, which include inadequate and/or poor-quality inputs and lack of technical support, which results in low productivity and incomes.
With this project, AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine will partner the Department of Agriculture of Obuasi Municipal and Obuasi East District Assembly to address these challenges by providing amongst other things, quality inputs, technical support, and market linkage, to create and maintain jobs and to improve on the incomes of the agrarian folks within out communities.
Speaking on behalf of AngloGold Ashanti Ghana Senior Manager – Sustainability, the Economic Development Superintendent of the Mine, Daniel Arthur Bentum said the promotion of Agriculture is a key investment area under the Obuasi Mine’s 10-year Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP), therefore, after wide consultations with key stakeholders, the company decided to invest in different agriculture liveihood options to create incomes, jobs as well as business for communities.
“AngloGold Ashanti wants to make its host communities better off for having operated there, thus our agriculture interventions will address the challenge of high cost of farming inputs among other things, to ensure that not only food security is assured within the communities and the region by extension, but it would propel a mindset change from subsistence to commercial or business farming to improve the local economy” he added.
Mr. Bentum urged the beneficiary farmers to be dedicated and committed to their capacity development and enhancement to ensure the success of the project and the economic prosperity of Obuasi and Ashanti Region in general.
In an interaction with the media, Daniel Arthur Bentum, stated that as part of the 10-year socio-economic development plan, AngloGold Ashanti seeks to diversify the local economy in Obuasi moving beyond dependence on the mining sector for employment.
According to Mr. Bentum, their plan involves supporting over 1000 farmers in their operations. To achieve this objective, AngloGold Ashanti, in collaboration with the Obuasi Municipal Assembly and the Obuasi East District Assembly, conducted an investigation, which revealed that the lack of farming inputs was a significant challenge. To address this, they identified and engaged about 150 farmers from 20 communities, providing them with necessary inputs such as fertilizers and other materials required for successful farming.
He emphasized that the success of the project is dependent on the farmers’ ability to make profits from their farms, which would enable Executives and the Farmers association to replicate the project in other communities.
When questioned about the significance of the project, Mr. Bentum explained that the primary objective of this initiative is to diversify the local economy, create employment opportunities for the youth, introduce alternative sources of employment, and ultimately achieve food security in the area.
According to the Municipal Director of Agriculture, Raphael Attah Peprah, the local government is delighted to have secured a stakeholder who will collaborate with them to support farmers in achieving the government’s vision of attaining food security in the nation.
In addition to the assistance and training received from the National Union of Ghanaian Students (NUGS) and the government, AngloGold Ashanti will also provide support and training to farmers to help them carry out their activities effectively.
Mr.Peprah explained that the farmers have been advised to repay the support provided to them as it is a revolving fund, which means that other farmers and communities can also benefit from it. He expressed his gratitude to AngloGold Ashanti for its intervention and support for the agricultural sector, which will play a crucial role in achieving food security in the nation.