Anglogold Ashanti Ghana, Obuasi Mine has presented Agricultural Extension tools to Agric officers in five districts of the Ashanti Region.
The tools which included flip charts, pruning tools, harvesting tools and tablets, were to support AGA’s Climate Resilient Oil Palm Project (CROPP) which is part of the 10-year Socio-Economic Development Plan of the mining company.
The beneficiary districts were Obuasi Municipal, Obuasi East, Adansi North, Adansi South and the Adansi Asokwa districts.
Launched in 2021, the Climate Resilient Oil Palm Project (CROPP) aims at mitigating the effects of climate change and adaptation through local economic development.
The five-year programme, which is expected to be rolled out in five districts, has Solidaridad West Africa providing technical support.
As part of the program, Extension Officers in the beneficiary districts have been trained in Best Oil Palm Management practices and the use of digital tools for monitoring and reporting purposes.
Ghana, like most sub-Saharan African countries, is predominantly agrarian, with crop production being the main driver of the agriculture sector.
More than 80% of growers are smallholder farmers, and their practises are characterised by low technology use, high rain dependence and low adoption of irrigation.
Less than 2% of arable lands in Ghana are under any form of irrigation.
Thus, the over-dependence on quantity and pattern of rainfall for crop production in Ghana exposes the economy and livelihood of citizens to fluctuation in production.
This has been exacerbated by the growing unpredictability of weather caused by climate change.
Speaking at an orientation program held in Obuasi to brief stakeholders on the progress of the CROPP, Emmanuel Baidoo, Senior Manager Sustainability AGAG, said CROPP is a demonstration of commitment on the part of AGAG to support farmers to improve productivity on their oil palm farms, expand their production by reclaiming and developing degraded lands into agroforestry oil palm farms and implement additional livelihoods.
He said, the key to the 10-year Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) launched in July was Agricultural Development.
He said it is a deliberate policy of AGA to diversify the economy of Obuasi by leveraging on agricultural development.
To execute this, he stressed that the project will support existing oil palm farmers in the 5 MMDAs to adopt climate-smart practises through capacity building and technical support, the project will also work with chiefs and local authorities to identify and convert degraded lands into oil palm agroforestry blocks.
“The CROPP will facilitate the set-up of an oil palm nursery to supply climate resilient seedlings to farmers as well as strengthen oil palm farmer groups through the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLAs) and will anchor support and technical assistance through the VSLA groups as well as link them to rural/ community banks”, he added.
He also underscored the importance of monitoring the sustainability of the program.
He said that Anglogold Ashanti, in the five (5) years duration of the program, will actively invest in the value chain with the aim of realising the objectives of the program.
The Economic Development Superintendent of Anglogold Ashanti, Daniel Arthur-Bentum in his presentation mentioned the roles of the various stakeholders in the implementation of the CROPP.
He said Anglogold Ashanti is responsible for mobilising technical and financial partnerships to support the program. They will also support MMDAs with resources for implementation of the program.
He added that Solidaridad West Africa will provide technical training, mentoring and coaching to MMDA extension staff, provide a platform for monitoring and reporting on project outcomes, train and mentor youth farm service providers and provide technical support toward the establishment of oil palm agroforestry farms.
On the part of the MMDAs, Mr. Arthur-Bentum stressed that they will identify and train farmers on BMPs, conduct follow-ups and provide extensive support to existing and new oil palm plantings and collect monthly data from selected farmers using SWA platform.
He appealed to chiefs and leaders of the beneficiary communities to make available degraded sites for reclamation.
Rosemary Addico, Oil Palm program Manager, Solidaridad West posited that a lot of farmers especially smallholder farmers have limited knowledge in the best management practises hence the CROPP will help build the knowledge and capacity of farmers in the best management practices to enable them adopt the right approaches to farming.
Chiefs, MMDCEs from the beneficiary districts; Agric officers and farmers were all present at the orientation program.