On Friday, September 9, Rosebel Gold Mines N.V. (Rosebel) and the Platform of Traditional Authority Brokopondo signed a funding agreement for the Brokopondo Outgrowers project. This is a pilot project that will significantly boost the agricultural sector in the district, by assisting farmers from Rosebel's Communities of Interest (COI) in setting up an agricultural business. The signing marks the beginning of the creation of local agricultural enterprises that can provide long-term sustainable income for communities in Brokopondo. The project starts with a group of ten farmers, and will continue to be implemented according to a concept where each farmer will in turn enable three to five others from his village to also start a farm.
At the beginning of this year, an awareness program was initiated by Rosebel, in collaboration with traditional authority figures, to educate the community of Brokopondo about the benefits of farming as a potential commercial activity for the district. According to Jerry Finisie, Community Relations and Development Manager at Rosebel, the project will further strengthen the local economy. "It is not only part of our Corporate Social Responsibility policy, but also a way to make the surrounding communities of Rosebel self-sufficient and provide a solution to the impact of the economic situation in the country," he says. "We also looked at the recent floods and how we can reduce this risk as much as possible. Therefore, to implement this project, a location was chosen that is at a higher altitude and not alongside a river. It is mainly about development of agricultural production in the district, and in the most sustainable way."
The agreement was signed by Rosebel General Manager Michiel Fleischeuer, Chairman of the Platform of Traditional Authority Brokopondo, Henry Kaffe, and Bonanza Agro Industries Director Linus Diko. Bonanza Agro Industries has been appointed project coordinator and is making its own contribution of US$10,000 to the total cost. Rosebel is funding the necessary equipment up to US$100,000, consisting of walking tractors, motor sprayers, diesel water pumps, brushcutters, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies for a good start of the project.