The Ghana Rubber Estates Company Limited, GREL, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is championing the setting up of farms in the locality it operates in.

The new rubber farms will be set up by the locals with the company’s support.

Three communities have already benefited from the initiative in the Western Region with the latest being the Abirem Agona community in the Komenda Edina Aguafo Abirem (KEEA) district of the Central Region.

A 20 hectare land has been prepared in this regard with planting already underway.

The land was purchased and developed by the company with the locals doing the planting.

At a ceremony to sign an agreement to kick start activities on the farm, the Managing Director of GREL Lionel Barres said GREL is committed to making the lives of people in its operational areas better.

He urged the locals to maintain the farm in order for them to reap the benefits in the next six years by which time the rubber trees will become productive.

According to him, the farm will be an asset for future generations in many years to come since a rubber tree has a life span of almost thirty-five years after which a replanting is done.

GREL has the majority of its rubber plantations in the Western Region, part of the Ashanti Region, and now an extension to the Central Region.

The Human Resource and Administration Manager of GREL, Joseph Garbrah explained the CSR farms project to Maxx Business.
“It is a scheme aimed at making the communities self-sufficient. Instead of giving them fish, we want to teach them how to fish. Each community can provide us with 20 hectares of land which we shall develop for them. Basically the farm will be for them and then we shall operate it like an out grower scheme. We will provide them with planting materials and technical assistance and then charge them later when the tree becomes productive”

Mr. Garbrah however noted that GREL will continue to provide social amenities for the beneficiary communities irrespective of the farms which will be a shared benefit.

“We are providing a lot of amenities, community centres, schools and scholarships for them. Those may not benefit them directly but the proceeds from the CSR farms will benefit the entire community directly. 60% goes to the community, 40% goes to the stool. It is something to make them self-sufficient in future” he added.

GREL has been supporting education through the construction of schools and the awards of scholarship for inhabitants in its operational areas in seven districts.

In a related development, GREL has put up an assembly hall with offices for the Association of Chiefs on whose lands GREL Operates (ACLANGO).

Aclango comprises chiefs from seven districts of the Western Region on whose lands the rubber company operates. The Association spearheads development projects for the over fifty communities under their jurisdiction.

The facility was named after one of GREL’s Former Managing Directors, Mr. Marc Genot, who is believed to have taken corporate social responsibility initiatives more seriously for the benefit of the locals.