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Regional News Sat, 26 Jul 2014

Newmont supports cocoa farmers in Birim North District

Newmont Akyem Mine, has supported a group of cocoa farmers from the Birim North District in the Eastern Region with inputs and implements to improve on their yield.

The farmers numbering 25 were provided with spraying machines, fungicides, insecticides, wellington boots and fertilisers.

A statement issued by Newmont Akyem Mine in Accra and copied to Ghana News Agency said the company is also supporting the beneficiaries with agriculture extension services through Organisation for Livelihood Enhancement Services, a local NGO in collaboration with Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

The support is part of the Livelihood Enhancement and Community Development Programme (LECDEP) which is funded by Newmont Akyem Mine. The programme started in 2007 and up to date a total of 240 cocoa farmers have benefited from the development initiative.

The programme is mainly a skills development and business support programme for all community persons who are not necessarily affected directly by the Newmont Akyem Mine project.

The objective of the agricultural support under the LECDEP is to help the farmers put into practice, skills and knowledge acquired from the programme.

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The External Relations Manager of the Akyem Mine, Mr Oduro-Kwarteng Marfo said apart from the targeted capacity building to farmers in modern farming practices, the LECDEP initiative also involves skill development in ICT, heavy duty machine operation, soap making, bakery, DSTV installation, tailoring and dress making, mushroom production, bee keeping and plant nursery establishment and management.

Mr Marfo said the Akyem Mine would continue to support major food security initiatives through a farming programme dubbed: “The Agricultural Improvement and Land Access Programme,” which till date has supported about 1900 famers in the mine area communities.

A 64-year old beneficiary farmer, Johnson Debrah from Adausena commended Newmont for supporting cocoa farming in the area. “This support will help ensure high yield and I can make some savings on money I could have used on farm inputs,” he said.

Mr Joseph Saajah, a Community Development Officer representing the Community Development Manager of the Akyem Mine, reiterated the importance of cocoa to the economy and advised beneficiaries of the support to use modern farm practices they learn from agriculture extension services officers.

He added: “The only way you can say thank you to Newmont is to use the inputs and knowledge on best cocoa practices from the extension officers to improve your crop yields.”

Source: GNA
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