Golden Star Oil Palm Plantation (GSOPP), the award winning alternative livelihood programme of Golden Star Resources, now a member of the Chifeng Gold Group has chalked a remarkable feat by completing processes, trainings and audits for its smallholder farmers to become certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm oil (RSPO).
The first of its kind in Ghana and second in Africa, this highly coveted certification means that GSOPP smallholder farmers are equipped with best management practices to improve their yields and produce oil palm sustainably and safely according to globally accepted standards.
GSOPP achieved this milestone with support from Solidaridad and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). These organizations took GSOPP farmers through trainings to broaden their scope on oil palm best management practices, sustainable group management, business planning, environmental protection, safe working relationships and continuous improvement.
Commenting on the certification Mr. Shaddrack Adjetey Sowah, VP and Managing Director of Golden Star Wassa Ltd explained “we are extremely proud of the GSOPP team for committing to the rigorous requirements of RSPO to gain this certification. As we have indicated since the acquisition of Golden Star in January 2022, ESG is our focus, and certifications such as this prove our commitment to the business, our communities and our stakeholders”
The Golden Star Oil Palm Plantation (GSOPP) was established in April 2006 as a non-profit subsidiary of Golden Star. GSOPP, in partnership with the traditional authorities, and affected farmers, with the support of the agro-forestry industry, promotes the development of oil palm plantations amongst Golden Star’s catchment communities, using the smallholder concept. Through GSOPP, Golden Star Resources continue to advance the business objective of reducing poverty through employment generation, and promoting wealth creation through sustainable agri-business. Funded by Golden Star through US$1 per ounce of gold produced, to date over $9.6 million has been directed to this important initiative.
The impact of the project is reflected in Royal Gold’s commitment to provide financial support for the activities of GSOPP through an annual contribution of $150,000 over five years. Impact is also felt in the number of beneficiaries involved in GSOPP, as at June 2022 GSOPP directly employs over 500 contract workers and farmers within the Wassa catchment. For Production, GSOPP yields 18 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches per hectare, compared to a National average of 6 tonnes per hectare. This is three times the National average for smallholders. For this, GSOPP has received multiple recognitions including awards as Nedbank Capital Green Mining Award, Ghana Mining Industry Awards, PDAC, Mines and Money Outstanding Achievement Award for ESG as well as Ghana National Farmers’ Days awards.
Furthermore, GSOPP is an excellent example of the concept of multiple and sequential land use. This is demonstrated in over 100 hectares of new plantation established on formerly mined land.
For the future GSOPP will improve on its great record of accomplishment by continuing the partnership approach to land tenure. This avoids displacement, and maintains protection of Forest Reserve and other gazetted or protected land classifications. GSOPP will continue with the regular capacity development and technical training for farmers and explore opportunities for future down-stream processing.
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was established to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through global standards and multi - stakeholder governance. The seat of the association is in Zurich, Switzerland, while the secretariat is currently based in Kuala Lumpur, with satellite offices in Jakarta (ID), London (UK), Zoetermeer (NL), Beijing (CN) and Bogotá (CO). RSPO now has 4,706 members from 94 countries.