Calm has absolutely returned to Obouho, a cocoa growing area under the Wassa Fiase Traditional Area in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality of the Western Region.
The stabilization of the peaceful atmosphere in the area followed the decision of the mining concession owners of the Swed Mining Company Limited, the gold mining company operating in Prestea- Obouho to pay crop compensation packages to cocoa farmers.
The beneficiaries numbering eleven (11) were negatively impacted in its Bondae Project Area Mining Lease Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana.
At a meeting held on Thursday April 1, 2021 which was attended by the gold mining concession owners of Swed Mining Ghana Company Limited and some affected cocoa farmers including some key stakeholders in the area, it was agreed that the company would pay a total of GH¢ 250.000.00 per one acre of cocoa farm.
The meeting which was chaired by the Mining Engineer of Swed Mining Ghana Company Limited, Mr James Adjei agreed that the payment of the crop compensation packages was only going to be made to the cocoa farmers who had been seriously affected by the operations of the gold mining company.
The meeting also enabled the company to explain to the affected cocoa farmers structures it had put in place to address issues like water, dust, noise and general environmental pollution that would result from its operations fr
As a result of this, the company in a meeting set aside a three weeks to ensure equitable and commensurable packages are given to the cocoa farmers, amidst the deprivation of their livelihoods.
The meeting agreed that the company in the future would also considered to pay compensation packages to farmers on its concession would be affected in the course of expansion of its its Prestea-Obouho underground gold mining project.
The corrective measures put in place to promptly pay compensation to farmers was after the reporter reported that the farmers are poised to embark on a strong demonstration against company for failure to pay them compensations after the company destroyed their farms.
That report stated that the farmers say company has destroyed their cocoa farms, took over their farmlands but no compensation has been paid to them
According to the irate farmers, ever since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ghana Minerals Commission issued operating licenses to the company to mine gold in Prestea-Obouho, it has destroyed their cocoa farms, took over their farmlands but no compensation has been paid to them.
“Over the years, the Chinese company have taken over our natural resources and vast lands making our standard of living nothing to write home about.”
“The company dug various ditches in our farms warning us to vacate our cocoa farmlands for underground mining activities without even paying compensation to us as required by the mining laws in Ghana.”
However, the aggrieved cocoa farmers have called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to impress upon the state mining regulatory institutions to, as a matter of urgency, intervene to ensure equitable and commensurable packages are given to them.
The farmers told SN24 News that, they will hit the streets with strong protest if the government of Ghana or the mining company fails to pay the compensations.
But Soireenews.com was reliably informed that this media publication has prompted the Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah who immediately ordered the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Prestea-Huni Valley Municipal Assembly, Dr Isaac Dasman iinvite the two feuding parities to find amicable solution to the matter.
Being proactive, the MCE was reported to have made this conflict resolution move to put the matter under control which hitherto has brought peace and unity among the two parties in the area.
Addressing the gathering, the Mining Engineer of Swed Mining Ghana Company Limited, Mr James Adjei asked residents to continue to have confidence in the company since the success of the company would be benefited to all the residents in the host communities of the project.
According to him, the company’s ultimate aim was to ensure that the project, create shared value in the areas of employment and other socio- economic benefits to the affected communities and the country at large in line with the purpose of creating value and improving lives through sustainable and responsible mining.
For his part, the chief of Prestea- Obouho community, Nana Kofi Abotsi IV lauded the potential social and economic benefits of the ongoing project.
He however urged management of the company to continue to take steps to address the concerns of the affected cocoa farmers to ensure a smooth take off of the project which commerced one month ago.
The Chief tasked the company to abide by the agreement signed between the traditional authorities and the company.
“You have promised to employ my people and as such you must fulfill your promise so we can extend the number of years for you,” he added.
The Chief further called on residents in the affected communities to support the company in the execution of the project.