The Akyem Abuakwa Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana has distributed 40,000 oil palm seedlings without any charge to 530 members in 15 congregations.
The congregations are located in towns and communities such as Abomosu, Kade, Akropong, Anum, Asamankese and Asuom.
Others are Osenase, New Abirem, Anyinam, Afosu, Kyebi and Kukurantumi, among others.
The presbytery exceeded 30,000 seedlings which were given to the members last year.
The purpose is to empower church members through oil palm cultivation to generate income to improve their livelihoods and those of their dependents.
Presenting the seedlings to representatives of the congregations at Kyebi last Friday, the Chairman of the Akyem Abuakwa Presbytery, Rev. Dr Seth Kissi, said the seedlings were distributed to the church members.
He said the initiative was a three-year project to distribute a total of 80,000 oil palm seedlings.
Rev. Dr Kissi explained that the presbytery started nursing the oil palm seedlings four years ago with the distribution starting last year.
Prior to the commencement of the project, the chairman said the presbytery had distributed 5,600 coconut seedlings to members in 2021 for cultivation.
“One of the visions of the presbytery is to help its members to work and earn incomes so that they would live a better life,” Rev. Dr Kissi said.
“We noticed that there are no big companies in Akyem Abuakwa but there is a lot of land readily available for farming so we decided to support the members with oil palm and coconut seedlings every year to empower them to eradicate extreme poverty in the church, going forward,” he added.
The Akyem Abuakwa Presbytery chairman said the focus was on oil palm farming in those areas because of its economic value which would enable the farmers to generate revenue for themselves, their families and the church.
Rev. Dr Kissi indicated that the purpose was also to support the government in its agricultural programmes to encourage a lot of unemployed youth to go into farming.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to adopt good farming practices to nurture the seedlings to achieve the full benefits of the programme.
The Asuomhene, Osabarima Ofosu-Hene Apenteng II, lauded the leadership of the presbytery for providing the various seedlings to the church members for cultivation.
The chief, who also benefited from the programme last year, entreated church members to embrace the initiative.
“Chiefs in the area believe that the presbytery’s initiative is a good one and because I’m a beneficiary we will be helpless but for the presbytery’s farming initiative,” Osabarima Apenteng said.
“It will have been difficult for us so anything which aims at supporting farmers in the area is something we cherish and value a lot,” he added.
The Head of a three-member committee in charge of nursing the seedlings, Dr Lawrence Misa Aboagye, sensitised the beneficiary farmers to how to plant and nurture the seedlings.
Dr Aboagye, who is also the immediate past Director of the Plant Genetic Resources Institute at Bonsu, advised farmers who intended to establish their nurseries to obtain their materials from the Oil Palm Research Institute for quality seeds.