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Case study – Investing in alternative livelihoods in Ghana

Case study – Investing in alternative livelihoods in Ghana

Fish cage culture project


“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The Gold Fields Ghana Foundation took this old Chinese proverb very literally and has invested significant funds and resources in two fish farming projects at the Tarkwa Gold Mine. The project started in October 2008 with the development of the Abekoase project of eight fish ponds. Seven ponds have been stocked with tilapia fingerlings and the remaining one with catfish. Over 100 community members were employed in the construction of the ponds, which now employ 40 workers on a permanent basis.

In November last year Gold Fields funded the development of eight nylon netting cages on a lake at the mine. The cage culture project employs one person full time. To date over 50,000 tilapia fingerlings have been stocked.

The produce from both fish projects is being sold to the mine’s canteens, local hotels and restaurants. Gold Fields Ghana has greater ambitions and is investigating the feasibility of a cold storage facility which would facilitate larger economies of scale and a significant expansion of the project. Gold Fields is still helping to manage this project in its early stages, but plans to hand it over to the local community once the business is a “going concern” and links to market have been firmly established.

In Ghana, around 40 per cent of the community investment budget is channeled to agricultural projects under the Sustainable Community Empowerment and Economic Development (SEED) programme. Between October 2008 and mid-2010 SEED has spent over US$250,000 on the Tarkwa fish projects.

Apart from fish farming, Gold Fields has already distributed over 16,000 healthy oil palm seedlings to 263 farmers in various communities around Tarkwa, providing them with planting materials and technical training. Farmers also have access to oil palm processing facilities, which allows them to “own” part of the manufacturing process instead of being limited to being suppliers of raw palm oil fruits only.