Flashback: A cocoa farm destroyed as a result of galamsey activities The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has expressed grave concern over the alarming rate at which cocoa farms are being destroyed by illegal mining, also called galamsey, across the country.
The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said in a presentation available to the Daily Graphic that more than 19,000 hectares (Ha) of cocoa farms had either been destroyed or affected by galamsey activities, leading to loss of income to farmers and investments by the board and the country at large.
In the presentation, made to the members of the boards of directors of COCOBOD and the Minerals Commission at a joint board meeting to find lasting solutions to the canker, Mr Aidoo said the destruction of cocoa farms through galamsey was pronounced in the Eastern, Western and Ashanti regions, from where more than 90 per cent of the country’s total cocoa production comes.
The meeting, which was convened by COCOBOD, the cocoa sector regulator, was co-chaired by the Board Chairman of COCOBOD, Peter Mac Manu, and the Board Chairperson of the Minerals Commission, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi.
The COCOBOD CEO disclosed that in the Eastern and the Western regions, more than 81 and 74 per cent, respectively, of cocoa farmlands had been affected by illegal digging and unregulated use of mercury and other chemicals to extract gold and other precious minerals.
In the Ashanti Region, he said, more than 68 per cent of cocoa farm areas were affected by the canker.
He said another 79.41Ha or two per cent of farms that were recently rehabilitated by the board had either been affected by the menace or at risk of being affected.
Beyond destroying cocoa trees and farmlands, he said, illegal mining had led to the early dropping of pods, wilting, yellowing of leaves and generally low yield on cocoa farms.
Those outcomes, he said, threatened the sustainability of the cocoa sector, which generated an average of $2.5 billion in foreign exchange every year, as well as its associated multi-billion cedi cocoa processing sub-sector and more than 800,000 jobs.
Mr Manu told the Daily Graphic that the meeting afforded the two sides the opportunity to share candid opinions on the canker and how to resolve it.Mr Manu, who is also a former National Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party, said the development had reached alarming levels, with almost all cocoa […]