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Anglogold Ashanti retools agric officers to fight climate change

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

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 (5) year programme which is expected to be rolled out in five (5) districts has Solidaridad West Africa providing technical support. 

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 practices are characterized by low technology use, high rain-dependence and a low adoption of irrigation. 

Less than 2% of arable lands in Ghana is 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 growing unpredictability of weather caused by climate change.

Speaking at an orientation programme 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 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 five MMDAs to adopt climate smart practices 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 to the sustainability of the program. He said 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 mobilizing technical and financial partnerships to support the program. They will also support MMDAs with resources for implementation of the programme. 

He added that Solidaridad West Africa will provide technical trainings, mentoring and coaching to MMDA extension staff, provide platform for monitoring and reporting on project outcomes, train and mentor youth farm service providers and provide technical support towards establishment of oil palm agro-forestry farms.

On the part of the MMDAs, Arthur-Bentum stressed that they will identify and train farmers on BMPs, conduct follow up and provide extension 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 small holder farmers have limited knowledge in best management practices hence the CROPP will help build the knowledge and capacity of farmers in 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. 

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