AgricultureGhanaOil & Gas/Mining

Minerals Commission to distribute one million-plus palm seedlings to galamsey areas

The Minerals Commission says the seedlings programme is one of a raft of measures to reduce youth involvement in illegal mining in the Eastern Region

The Minerals Commission is poised to distribute over a million palm seedlings to farmers and young people involved in mining in galamsey areas of the Eastern Region as one measure to reduce youth involvement in illegal mining in the region.

The seedlings, which are to be distributed free of charge, will be distributed by the Commission under the Sustainable Alternative Livelihood Project to offer residents in illegal mining communities a safer, alternative and reliable source of income.

In an interview with Citi Business News during a working visit to the nursery plantation at Akwatiakwaso by board members of the Minerals Commission, the board chairman of the Commission, Sampson Kwaku Boafo, expressed how impressed he was with the progress of work. He called on former farmers and young people in the area to embrace agriculture.

“This project is the Alternative Livelihood Project (ALP) and it is precisely why we are here, to let the guys in the mining areas know that they have a bright future in agriculture,” Boafo said.

Profits vanished

“Let’s be honest with ourselves – the boys who were into the gold business are now poor because the money is gone. And when you mine illegally you will never make money out of it. But when it is done legally, with proper documentation and certification, with technology, the sky will be the limit.

”So there is this alternative for those without the knowhow to come and benefit from this project.

“How long does it take when you want to plant tomatoes? This is agriculture, and food is what we are talking about,” Boafo said.

”Now you all know how kontomire has become valuable in this COVID season. And the government is encouraging everyone to patronise local foods because of this pandemic, which has opened us to reality.”

Ready markets

The chief executive officer of Richie Plantations Ltd, Richard Ekow Quansah, said the individuals who will receive the seedlings will have the advantage of engaging in intercropping and adding other food items. The company is working to provide them with a ready market, he said.

“Beneficiaries of this palm project can also do intercropping by adding maize, beans, which takes three months,” Quansah said. “So as you are waiting for your three years for your palm to come, you still have something to depend on till the time that your palm will fruit. So the Alternative Livelihood Project is very important.

“Farming is a good venture. I always use myself as an example, because when I came to Ghana in 2005, I used GHC1,000 to start a green pepper plantation in the dry season and I had GHC30,000, which I used to establish myself.

“We are encouraging the community to also come on board and get into agriculture and we will find a warehouse for them and even buy produce from them. The key point in farming is a ready market, and we are finding a strategy for them to get the market.”

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