Citizens of MNG Gold Liberia’s affected communities in Boinsen District have agreed, with support from the company, to engage in communal vegetable farming as a means of generating money to improve their livelihoods.MNG Gold is a Turkish company mining gold in Boinsen, Kokoyah Statutory District in Bong County.
The communities include Sayewheh Town, Bahn Town, Bohn Town, Qua-Garyeazon Town, Free Town, Dahnway Village, Dolo Town, Dorbor Town, Cee Town, David Dean Town, and surrounding areas.
The supervisor of MNG Gold’s Department of Government and Community Relations and the company’s public relations officer both said the company would provide earthmoving equipment to clear ten hectares of land that will be divided among four farms in four of the communities.
Eugene Kollie and Lloyd Ngwayah indicated recently that the company will also provide seeds and agricultural implements to help the farmers enhance their productivity.
According to Mr. Ngwayah, the agriculture project component of the community initiative is meant to empower local farmers and give them the necessary training, implements, and the means of growing some vegetables that they can sell to the company to generate some income.
He adds that the company will partner with the Sustainable Integrated Development Initiatives for Africa, a local Liberian NGO, to train and empower 120 women household heads and interested illicit gold miners in the cultivation of 10 hectare of a variety of seasonal food crops.The citizens and the company reached the decision recently during their regular monthly meetings in the district.
Eugene Kollie, who supervises government and community relations for the company, says the monthly meetings are intended for the company to listen to the concerns of the citizens for possible redress.
“In our last meeting with the citizens in January, they raised concerns about damaged hand pumps in their communities. From that meeting, we were able to kickoff renovation works on 36 hand pumps in the different communities. Today, we have completed 26 of those pumps and they are functional,” Kollie discloses.
He narrates that his department would continue with the monthly meetings with the communities as a means of improving the company’s relationship with the citizens through effective communication.
Meanwhile, Gibson Boyah, a resident of Bohn Town and chief elder of Kokoyah Statutory District, has welcomed the farming decision and agreed to make available land for one of the four communal farms.
“This is the kind of things that we want the company and the citizens to be doing because we know everybody will not work with this company,” he says.
Boyah calls on the citizens to take the agriculture project seriously, nothing that it will help them raise money to take care of their financial needs.
Yah Garyeazon of Qua-Garyeazon, one of the leaders of the women in her community, notes that the agriculture project is especially important for women who are in most instances unable to do the hard labor on the company’s mining site.By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong –Edited by Winston W. Parley