Gold Fields Launches €800,000 Project - Modern Ghana
Gold Fields Ghana Limited, a gold mining company in the Western Region, has launched an €800,000 project aimed at generating employment and income for the teeming unemployed youth in the company's host communities.
The project, dubbed 'Youth in Organic Horticultural Production' (YouHoP), is a commercial agriculture programme with a special focus on organic vegetable production along the entire value chain.
The initiative, which is being implemented in collaboration with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, is targeted at the youth, and it is designed to create employment and improve incomes for about 1,000 youth over a three-year period.
Speaking at a ceremony to officially inaugurate the project, Robert Siaw, Sustainable Development Manager of Gold Fields Ghana, noted that most of the unemployed youth were not particularly excited about the traditional cash crops because they had long gestation periods and required large tracts of land.
“Vegetable production, on the other hand, seems like a viable alternative for the youth. It requires much smaller land take, has shorter gestation periods and holds great income generating potential,” he added.
He mentioned that to ensure sustainability of the programme, the availability of capital was critical and added that the project had instituted a Co-operative Credit Union to provide low interest credit facilities and business advisory services to the beneficiaries.
Another key part of the programme is the green label certification, which would ensure that vegetable produced would be certified by the Ghana Green Label Secretariat to confirm that they were produced under strict, acceptable and verifiable agricultural protocols, Mr Siaw disclosed.
On his part, David Johnson, Vice President, Stakeholder Relations, of Gold Fields Ghana, mentioned that the mining company had been working closely with the chiefs, District and Municipal Authorities to find ways of minimizing the negative impact of the company's operations.
He noted that his outfit would continue to work with the Ghana Health Service to improve healthcare delivery in several of the host communities through the provision of clinics, health centers, accommodation for medical staff, health screening and education.
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