Newmont Ghana’s Ahafo Mine in collaboration with German group, Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have commissioned a processing center in the Asutifi district of the Brong Ahafo Region, to help farmers reduce post-harvest loses and improve their earnings.
The almost $700,000 project, known as the Asutifi Processing Service Centre, is expected to revamp agricultural production in the Ahafo mine’s host communities and other communities in the Asutifi North and South districts.
Joep Coenen, General Manager of the Ahafo Mine, speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Kenyase, lauded farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region for their hard work in consolidating the region’s positionas the bread basket of Ghana and underscored the need to support their effort to ensure greater value for their efforts.
“Agriculture is the mainstay of the region and the district’s economy. Farmers, mainly smallholders, still depend on rudimentary methods of production. After their hard work in harvesting their produce, they lack storage facilities and inadequate agro-processing facilities to help them get value for their work done,” said Mr Coenen.
“The joint initiative by Newmont and GIZ is a timely one that aims at adding value to the production of a number of agricultural produce, reduce post-harvest losses, boost marketability of produce and improve earnings of farmers within Asutifi South and North Districts. Value addition to selected crops produced by the farmers will also go a long way to diversify the local economy.” He added.
He urged the farmers to make good use of the processing plant and expressed Newmont’s continuous support for such partnerships as part of the company’s purpose of creating value and improving lives through sustainable and responsible mining.
The Omanhene of Kenyasi No. 1 Nana Osei Kofi Abiri, in a speech read on his behalf commended Newmont Ghana and GIZ for seeing through the construction of the centre and thanked Newmont Ghana for bringing about food security in the Asutifi District through livelihood support programmes such as the Agricultural Improvement and Land Access Programme (AILAP) and the Vulnerable People’s programme (VPP).
Mr. John Duti, the programmes Manager of GIZ encouraged the farmers to take full ownership of the program and ensure that it is sustained. He urged them to plant more pepper and ginger to feed the processing plant so as to attract the youth into Agriculture and divert their attention from illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.
In his keynote address, Dr. Cyril Quist, Brong Ahafo Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture noted that contrary to pre-conceived misgivings about mining, “mining can create a win-win situation for everyone” and hoped that Newmont’s example can be replicated in other mining communities. He urged all stakeholders to continue technical support to the APSC until it matures and weans off.
Representatives of the farmers were grateful for the initiative and called for further support to process more food crops in the district.
“Contrary to fears that Newmont’s presence will bring about hunger, we have rather received a lot of training in agriculture which has made lives better. I will like to suggest that Newmont considers including plantain and corn in the future so we can also have processed fufu,” said Nana Ama Bonsu, a beneficiary farmer. She urged all farmers to work hard and ensure that the facility is fully utilized and sustained.
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