Over two million palm seedlings are to be planted in communities in the country where the environment has been depleted through illegal mining activities (galamsey).
The plantation project is being funded by the Minerals Development Fund (MDF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, as part of the alternative livelihood support initiatives under the Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP).
It is being executed by Richie Plantation in Dunkwa-on-offin in the Upper Denkyira East municipality in the Central Region.
One million five hundred seedlings are to be distributed to farmers and former illegal miners by the end of August this year, while a remaining 500,000 will be ready before the end of 2018.
The Hon. Minister, Mr. John-Peter Amewu, announced this when he inaugurated the Richie Plantation oil palm seedlings project aimed at providing alternative livelihoods for illegal miners.
The distribution of oil palm seedlings to communities that have been affected by illegal mining have started and over 8000 farmers and former illegal miners will benefit from the oil palm seedlings to start a new life, Hon. Amewu noted.
“We know that whatever they derive instantly from palm seedling may not match what they get from illegal mining, but what we fail to realize as a country is the fact that the environmental cost or the cost of damages that are as a result of illegal mining we do not quantify that into our returns”.
Hon. Amewu also urged traditional authorities to make land available for the youth adding that if the land is not available all that we are witnessing today will be in vain”. He stressed.
He also explained that the extended period of the moratorium on small-scale mining was not meant to deprive small-miners of their livelihood but was rather aimed at weeding out illegal miners to sustain the sector.
He expressed satisfaction with the extent of work done at the Richie Plantation and directed the managers of the MDF to increase funding allocation to the non-governmental organization (NGO) to scale up the initiative to other mining communities in the Ashanti, Eastern and Brong Ahafo regions.
Richie Plantation has done a very good job in barely one and half years and so we need to support it to scale up, because in the next 10 years it should be possible to get a milling plant and job opportunities from these efforts, he concluded.
The Minister was accompanied to the plantations sites at separate visits with his Deputy Ministers and officials of the Ministry, Minerals Commission and Monitory Development Fund (MDF).