The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has said over 19,000 arable cocoa farms have been lost through illegal mining (galamsey).
Speaking on the TownHall Talk programme on Asaase 99.5 on Friday (21 October 2022), Fiifi Boafo, the director of public affairs at Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), said the activities of illegal miners in the cocoa growing areas of the country are having a devastating effect on cocoa farms.
Boafo said, “We did some work. This is at the beginning of the year and we’ve lost about 19, 000 hectares of cocoa farms. This was January this year and it was a sample that was done, so it doesn’t give the true picture of the extent of the devastation. On daily basis, there are reports of farms being lost to illegal mining. And these reports some of them we are able to verify.”
He added, “So it’s an indication that the problem is not gone. It still persists. There was this story troubling we saw of a farmer in the Ashanti Region who said his ten-hectare farm is now flooded as a result of illegal mining taking place closer to the farm so in some instances it’s not the case that the farm has been used for illegal mining but then the activities of illegal mining effect on the farm are that it makes it less productive. So that is another side of it.
“There are some cases where you have the illegal miners dig huge holes along the access to the farm so it becomes impossible for the farmers to access the farms and they compelled to give it out.”
He said COCOBOD is currently educating cocoa farmers on the need to maintain their cocoa farms and to desist from giving them out to illegal miners.
“We shall surely eradicate galamsey”
Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has reaffirmed his commitment to ending the illegal mining menace stressing that the government’s efforts to deal with galamsey have been unprecedented in Ghana’s history.
“We are here to eradicate galamsey and surely, it would be eradicated,” he said. “No government has shown that resilience in the fight against galamsey”.
The president made these remarks when he paid a courtesy call to the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace as part of his four-day working visit to the Ashanti Region.
There has been a widespread campaign against the illegal mining menace which has seen many forest reserves and water bodies devastated.