The leadership of YASTA Fish Farmers Association in the Tono North Municipality, Ahafo Region, have expressed worry that the emergence of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) in that area is a great threat to their sustainable socio-economic livelihoods.
According to Mr. Ahmed Saiid Addai, Chairman of the Association with a membership strength of 200, comprising mostly of both male/female youth across Yamfo, Afrisipakrom, Susuanso Terchire, and Adrobaa (YASTA), they could harvest more than 90 tons of cat fish and tilapia every month.
“But because of NGGL’s claim of moratorium placement on our lands since 2017 and subsequent refusal to pay us our due and adequate compensation packages, we are heading towards losing our means of survival”.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview at Afrisipakrom, Mr. Addai bemoaned “Newmont is rather coming to end our businesses and greatly do us more harm than good”.
This, he explained was due to the real, reasonable, and appropriate price in relation to the life expectancy of their landed properties, particularly economic trees such as cocoa, cashew, mango, oil palm and others like teak and ‘Odum’ for timber purposes were not offered by the company in the negotiation with them.
“This situation is a great threat to our economic stability and thus social lives because it will be become extremely difficult to afford even quality education for our children and wards”.
Mr. Addai demanded, “discussion to keep our fish farming businesses running must clearly be concluded by replacing our fish ponds with new ones before resettlement so that we wouldn’t go poor after sacrificing our properties for the mining company”.
On his part, Mr. John Eric Bediako, the Association’s Secretary expressed worry that the YASTA fish farming business had created more than 600 direct and 1000 indirect jobs to people in those five communities.
The farmers (fish pond owners) were excluded from the 1,600 employees. Mr. Bediako said, but NGGL has not considered it necessary to engage the leadership of the Association to disclose plans of an arrangement pertaining to the job security of those employees, he added.
Mr. Bediako, therefore, announced their appeal “to our traditional authorities, Dr., Freda Prempeh, the Member of Parliament, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for their immediate intervention so that our required compensation packages will be paid with further arrangements for us to remain in business”.
He alleged the NGGL Ahafo North Mine would only employ a total of 1800 workers, about 1,300 casual laborers, and the remaining number as permanent staff from the five communities, complaining that clearly indicated only a few people would get the opportunity of being employed.
That implied “we the fish farmers will lose our livelihoods, but we must not be left unemployed”, Mr. Bediako stressed.
In a related interview, Mr. Sampson Owusu, the 2020 Ahafo Regional Best Fish Farmer requested for cemented ponds with dams for frequent water flow to avoid drought to sustain their fish farming businesses if they would be resettled from the company’s concessional areas.