According to them, the compensation offered them by the company had left them worse off.
The affected communities are Sanso, Diawuoso, New Bidiem, Anyinam and Nyamebekyere, where the farmers cultivated mainly cocoa, palm oil, plantain, cassava and banana.
Addressing the press last Wednesday, Ms Olivia Delali Fiagbor, who read a statement on behalf of the affected communities, said the AGA failed to comply with the Minerals and Mining Act which required mining companies to successfully negotiate compensation with the landowners and lawful occupiers of land before they started operation.
“In our case, the AGA first entered our lands, destroyed our crops and then when pushed, decided to enter into negotiations with the affected farmers,” she said, adding that “this is wrong and should not be tolerated in a democratic environment like we find ourselves in.”
According to Ms Fiagbor, the company was rather claiming that most of the affected farmers were speculative farmers, that is, farmers who quickly created farms to cash in on compensation payment.
She said many of the affected farmers at Nyamebekyere and the other settlements cultivated palm and cocoa seedlings which they supplied to other farmers and “cannot under any circumstance be referred to as speculative farmers”.
The farmers claimed the mining company, which had been operating in Obuasi since 1897, had asked them to go to court if they were not satisfied with what it had given them.
Ms Fiagbor also alleged that the company had been using its own discretion to pay compensation instead of going by the law, adding, “In a typical ‘take it or leave fashion,’ the AGA officials set their own rates and shove it down the throats of farmers.”
While welcoming the partnership between Randgold and the AGA for the revamping of the Obuasi mine, the farmers advised the new entrant to ensure that the AGA had honoured all outstanding compensation requirements before it finalised its agreements with the company.
“Failure to do so will saddle them with court cases that will not augur well for their image,” she warned.