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Business News of Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Source: GNA

Goldfields awards 319 oil palm farmers

Three hundred and nineteen oil palm farmers of Goldfields Ghana, Tarkwa Mine operational area, have been awarded for their hard work.

The award winners, who were selected from six out of the eight catchment communities, received NPK fertilizers, weedicides, wellington boots and other farm implements.

Mr Mubashir Dari, Community Affairs and Public Relations Manager of the company, said an amount of 47,000.00 Ghana cedis was spent on the items distributed to the award winners.

He said, this year, under the Sustainable Community Empowerment and Economic Development programme (SEED), a total of 383 oil palm farms were inspected by the field officers from the community affairs department and agricultural extension officers from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

He said 319 beneficiaries, representing 83 percent of the inspected farms, qualified for this year’s SEED oil palm award ceremony which was the second of its kind since its inception in 2011.

Mr Dari said one of the main challenges the inspecting team faced during the farm inspections was the failure of some beneficiaries to turn up for scheduled inspection.

He appealed to the farmers to consistently avail themselves for inspection and other training programmes in order to reap the full benefit of the oil palm component of the industry’s acclaimed SEED programme.

Mr Dari encouraged beneficiaries whose farms could still be inter cropped to do so with vegetables and other crops just as the Gold Fields Foundation had done on its own plantation at Abekoase and Awudua in the Prestea Huni/Valley District.

Mr Dari said this practice would ensure that the beneficiary farmers made some income while waiting for their first oil palm harvest.

Mr Van der Merwe, General Manager of the company, said inspite of the numerous challenges that the company encountered this year, an amount of 2.7 million US dollars would be spent on community development projects.

He congratulated the award winners for their dedication and that the items received should be used to improve their farms to enable them to win more wards next year.

Mr Merwe said as most of the farmers had started harvesting their crops, the company was considering putting up a small mill to enable them to process their fruits.

He, therefore, called on the farmers to form cooperatives to enable them to manage the mill when it was established.

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