The Ahafo Region is prolific for its agriculture contribution to Ghana’s economy and food security.
Earning the description, “the food basket of Ghana”, the Region’s soil type and rainfall pattern support the cultivation of varied food and cash crops, with farmers engaged in both subsistence and commercial farming.
Part of the challenge, particularly with commercial agriculture production, is the lack of access to ready market and the inadequate value-addition avenues for perishable crops.
In 2013, Newmont, which operates the Ahafo mine in the Ahafo Region and the Akyem mine in the Eastern Region, established the Asutifi Processing and Services Centre (APSC) in collaboration with the German Development Cooperation on a pilot basis to explore processing and marketing opportunities for agricultural produce in the area.
This was after extensive engagements with the beneficiary farmers and assessments to understand the agriculture value chain in the region and the opportunities therein.
In line with Newmont’s social performance strategy, which aims to enhance opportunities for people in its host communities, particularly the youth and women, the APSC became a significant vehicle to support the livelihoods of the people and create sustainable jobs in the Ahafo Region.
The APSC is a key project under Newmont’s broader Local Economic Diversification (LED) initiative, which focuses on fostering partnerships with development agencies, government, and impact investors, to identify business opportunities, create employment, and promote sustainable development in the company’s host communities.
Enhanced Processing Facility
The facility, which started operating in 2013, encountered some challenges that impacted the realization of its full potential. These challenges included limited raw materials to feed the factory and ready markets for the products.
Newmont then conducted extensive feasibility studies in 2018 to confirm the viability of a bigger facility with the requisite market demand for processed chilli pepper and ginger. The outcome of the assessment justified Newmont’s significant investment to scale up the project and create job opportunities, especially for farmers in the area and those in the agriculture value chain.
In December 2023, the expanded processing and services centre was completed. The US$ 4 million APSC facility, established with support from the German Development Cooperation, marked a significant milestone in Newmont’s ongoing efforts to create value and improve lives of beneficiaries through sustainable and responsible mining.
With a bigger capacity and scope, the APSC is now expected to significantly reduce post-harvest losses and improve food security in the Asutifi area. Over 80 farmer-based organisations and about 1,000 chilli pepper and ginger farmers are benefiting from the APSC through an out-grower scheme, guaranteeing them increased and consistent income.
Newmont’s Commitment to sustainable mining in Ghana
Newmont, the world’s leading gold company and a producer of copper, silver, zinc, and lead, operates two mines in Ghana: The Ahafo South Mine in the Ahafo Region and the Akyem Mine in the Eastern Region. The company’s Ahafo North project is a greenfield mine currently under construction in the Ahafo Region.
In Ghana, Newmont remains one of Ghana’s largest taxpayers. By the end of September 2023, the company had made GHS 2.857 Billion in fiscal payments to the Government of Ghana. Its development Foundations in Ahafo and Akyem continue support host community development.
During the launch, the MD for Newmont’s Africa business unit, David Thornton, highlighted the commitment of the company to improving incomes and livelihoods of local farmers. He said, “the revamped APSC signifies Newmont’s dedication to fostering local economic growth, promoting sustainable development, and supporting agriculture value chains in the Ahafo Region, recognized as the breadbasket of Ghana.”
The team leader of Invest for Jobs at GIZ Ghana, John Duti, added that, “the German Development Cooperation is happy to partner Newmont on this project which has huge potential positive impact for the farmers, and address the issue of post-harvest losses, one of the key challenges in the agriculture sector.”