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Aboso Goldfields Ltd through the Goldfields Ghana Foundation has supported 360 cocoa farmers in the Prestea-Huni Valley district of the Western Region with 2,160 bags of government-approved fertilisers.
The company, four years ago, instituted the Cocoa Input Support programme to provide selected cocoa farmers with bags of government-approved cocoa fertilisers.
The foundation at Damang Mine, in 2018, decided to come to the aid of farmers who could not afford subsidized fertilizers when the government of Ghana 2017 decided to change its policy of free distribution of fertilizers to farmers but rather at a subsidized price.
The first batch of 120 farmers from the nine host communities of the mine was each supplied with two acres worth of fertilisers annually.
In 2020, after 3 consecutive years of support, an assessment of the programme's impact was undertaken, and all farmers recorded an increase in their yield annually.
A beneficiary of the programme, Grace Ofori, said prior to the intervention of the Gold Fields Ghana Foundation initiative, an average acre of cocoa farm yielded between 10 to 12 bags of cocoa beans annually.
But after three years of constant application of fertilisers, the same acres gave her and her colleague beneficiaries more than 16 bags on the same land.
General Manager at Abosso Goldfields, Limited Michiel van der Merwe, at the presentation of fertilisers and agrochemicals to the farmers this year, said the initiative became necessary when they realize the significance of cocoa to their host communities and Ghana's GDP.
He said, "We began this four years ago to boost annual cocoa production in our host communities, to help create and sustain employment in the area of cocoa production and to establish the fact that mining could coexist with farming."
"As a company, we want to see our catchment communities become major producers," he added.
This year, he said the first batch of farmers is exiting the programme. It is believed that the increase in the income of these beneficiaries has better positioned them to afford the government subsidized fertilizers going forward.
According to him, their exit will make room for a new batch of 120 farmers to be enrolled in 2021 for the next three years.
He added 480 farmers with a combined farm size of 960 acres have enjoyed support from the Foundation under this programme.
"The leaders of the Damang Mine Consultative Farmers Association, under the chairmanship of Nana Boakye, made a passionate appeal to the Foundation to consider the supply of insecticides and fungicides as part of the programme; this appeal has been accepted."
Today, he said each of the 360 farmers presently under the programme will receive two acres' worth of these other agrochemicals in addition to the government-approved fertilizers.