Pupils, teachers and nurses at Shai Osu Doku District in the Greater Accra Region are in jubilant mood following the commissioning of classroom blocks and residential facilities by the Golden Exotics Ltd houses teachers, nurses; shelters pupils in Shai Osudoku(GEL) Banana Farm Fair Trade Premium Committee, Tuesday.

The keys to a six unit classroom block for primary school and another three unit classroom block for kindergarten for the Kewum Atrobinya community as well as a 10-completed residential facility for teachers and nurses in Volivo were handed over to the District Chief Executive of the area, Daniel Akuffo during the commission.

Worth a little over one million euros, the Managing Director of Golden Exotics Limited (GEL) Benedict Rich said the projects were funded through premium receipts by customers of the company across Europe.

These receipts he said were transferred into accounts, managed and expended into community projects that impact directly the workers of GEL, their families and the entire community where GEL operates.

“Fair Trade concept is a unique one. It is the only certification scheme that gives back to the producers.

This is possible because of deliberate and conscious decision of consumers to pay a premium over and above the market prices for bananas so that the difference will be transferred to the workers of the supplying company,” Benedict Rich stated.

According to him, Golden Exotics Limited (GEL) and Fairtrade is committed to undertaking projects that seeks the well being and development of the workers and the community in which they operate.

With banana plantation covering over 2000 hectares and a direct workforce of over 3,000 workers, Mr Rich said over the years the company has undertaken projects such as a worker’s softloan with zero interest, science laboratory at the Shai Osudoku High School, a Vocational Training School all aimed at improving the lives of their workers, their families and the entire community in which they operate.

He said if the youth in the community are empowered, there will be no need for them to seek greener pastures outside the country, sometimes under very debilitating circumstances.

Who gets what?

Fairtrade Officer, GEL, George Kporye said the company receives solicitation of projects from workers every year, tabulate each one of them to ascertain the frequency of selected projects, after which a 22-member committee decides on which project to execute in consultation with all stakeholders including the District Chief Executive.

He said the beneficiary communities must be within 60km radius of the banana plantation.

Mr George Kporye said over the years, they have provided scholarship awards for children of workers and other social projects.

In the wake of Covid-19, the Fairtrade Officer said they have provided Vitamin C supplements, Veronica buckets and other Covid-19 safety protocol materials to residents in some 25 communities within the catchment area of the plantation.

He indicated the company is prepared to do more to improving the economy of the country whilst still supporting the communities in which they operate in.

He admonished the beneficiary communities to maintain the projects, so that the company can do more for them

The District Chief Executive of the area was full of praise for the company for the immense developmental project it has undertaken over the years.

Daniel Akuffo noted the classroom blocks and the apartments are timely interventions for the community and will in no small way help the developmental agenda of the residents in the community.

He promised to ensure the facilities are maintained and challenged the head- teacher, nurses and occupants of apartments to help maintain the projects.

The Paramount Chief of The Osudoku, Adegbor Ngmongmowuyaa Kwesi Animle VI, in his speech, praised the GEL for what he said was the company’s “remarkable contributions against youth unemployment.”

He called on GEL to equip the vocational school so it can be put to use.

The ceremony was attended by the District Directors of Health, Education, representative of the paramount chief of Osu Doku Traditional Area and the Head of Region Fair Trade Africa.