Farmers and land owners affected by Newmont Mining Company Ltd in the Akyem area have threatened to stage a demonstration against the Environmental Protection Agency if steps are not taken to restore a support programme by Newmont.
In a statement signed by Mr Ntiamoan Denkyira, Chairman of the Newmont Akyem Affected Farmers Association, the farmers and landowners threatened to take that course of action if, within a week of this notice, nothing is done about their situation.
Mr. Denkyira explained that the presence of Newmont in the area “has brought poverty to our doorsteps. It was this situation that compelled the company to engage stakeholders concerned”.
He indicated that, during the engagements, which took about three years, it was agreed that Newmont should help farmers affected by their mining activities to establish new farms. Newmont also agreed to pay for the establishment and maintenance of the farms for three (3) years. “Others who were sick or were not interested in farming were to be supported to establish businesses.”
He narrated that, the support for the farming programme started during last year’s farming season when a group headed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the support was not enough to sustain a successful implementation, therefore the programme must be halted for them to take over, promising to increase the amount for the farming and demanding for every farmer to increase the acreage from two to five acres.
“To our disappointment, the EPA Group have rather sabotaged the programme because until now we have not received any money from them and have not heard any information from them in Accra,” Mr. Ntiamoah Denkyira said.
“We don’t understand why they want to give instructions from Accra more so when they have not taken any land from us but rather Newmont,” he wondered, adding that the programme was targeted at only those directly affected by Newmont’s mining activities.
He declared that they wouldn’t agree with anybody that is not directly affected, benefiting from the programme.
“The intervention of the EPA Group is becoming a nuisance. We, therefore, advise that if they have any financial support they should give this support to Newmont and direct them on how to manage the programme,” he averred.
They are warning that if by a week of this notice there is no positive response from the EPA Group, they will advise themselves.
Sources close to the affected farmers and land owners intimated that a demonstration within the area is the main option on the table.
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