A research by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has revealed a widespread loss of cocoa farms to illegal small-scale mining activities, popularly known as galamsey.
80 percent of selected cocoa farms in the Western, Ashanti and Eastern Regions were found to have been devastated by illegal mining.
Per the latest statistics, over 19,000 acres out of the over 20,000 cocoa-farm acreage selected in these regions were ravaged by the galamsey menace between 2019 and 2020.
At a Cocoa-Galamsey Talk in Accra on Friday, analysts predicted far-reaching consequences on Ghana’s cocoa exports and the economy if immediate interventions are not made.
The Board Chairman of COCOBOD, Peter Mac Manu, said, “we are aware that our river bodies have been polluted. We are aware that some farms have been degraded for galamsey. We cannot sit in COCOBOD and find solutions to them. Equally, you may not know the havoc galamsey is wreaking on the cocoa industry, which has continued to be the mainstay of the economy of this country. Are we going to sit aloof and watch the cocoa industry die? No. Certainly the Minerals Commission will not approve of that,” he said.
He called on all stakeholders to meet to find solutions to the challenge to avert impoverishing farmers and negative repercussions on the Ghanaian economy.
“There is the need to jaw-jaw and find common solutions to the problems. Western North, Western, Ashanti and Eastern region, many of the farmers have been devastated by the activities of galamsey. People’s income are being wiped off, so we need to pay a critical look at it.”