Yanya Tebi breaks from work on his rice farm to find water for himself and his three wives who have worked for hours under the scorching sun.
The farm is located a few meters from a stream, which is a major source of drinking water for the farmers.
With his gallon, he clears the surface of the muddied water and scoops the water. Later, he drinks from his hand.
“For over thirty years I have farmed here. This is the only source of water for all farmers here. Everyone drinks from this source, some come from as far as Issakurom to drink from this source, but it has been polluted badly”, Yanya said as he takes a sip from his hands.
The gallon of water is sent to the farm to quench the thirst of the family.
The once clean source of water supply for the farmers, is now muddied by the invasion of sand winners in the area.
The sand winners have created a pathway through the water body to reach lands beyond the stream.
“We made a little bridge which we used to cross the stream. It was a shallow one. To get to the land behind the stream, they destroyed the stream which have served us over the years”, Fati Sumaila, a farmer here said as she looks at the stream.
Illegal sand mining has contaminated the source of water supply of the residents of Odumakyi in the Kwabre South District of the Ashanti Region.
Farmers are compelled to rely on the polluted water for both drinking and farming needs.
Money invested in farming is going down the drain as the unlawful sand winners continue to devastate crops.
One end of the stream is completely destroyed and unusable. It looks brownish.
Pupils of Odumakyi D/A Basic, located a few metres from the sand winning site, are forced to drink from this contaminated water source after the two boreholes in the school were destroyed.
Following an earlier report by Luv News, the local assembly said there were measures to deal with the indiscriminate sand winning activities.
Kwabre South District Chief Executive, Christian Adu Poku, said the sand winners will be stopped.
“We discussed the issue with the farmers and we told them whenever the people come around for sand winning, they should give me a call. I left my phone number with them so I can track them. Besides that, I met the Assembly members and the unit committee members, I also spoke to the traditional leader and we devised strategies to deal with it”.
Two months after the strategy was adopted, it is yet to yield any positive results.
A return to the area two months later, however, indicates that the situation persists. More than fifteen truck-loads of sand move from the area in one hour.
An excavator sits on a farm land digging sand for these vehicles.
Checks reveal the new area being excavated was a new planted rice farm.
Already, a huge acreage of farms has been destroyed by the activity.
Yanya Tenbi and his family are victims of the destruction. They have returned to the once degraded land, farming the portion which was not degraded.
But the sand winners are planning a return to the land. Sarah Yanyedi is the wife of Yanya.
“They wanted to come back to this land and excavate the sand, we stood against that but they promised to come back. They can come any day with their equipment and destroy our farms for the sand”.
“I fear it can happen on any day. I don’t know how we will survive if that should happen”, she added.
Fati Sumaila is struggling to return to farming after her two-thousand-cedi investment in a three-acre land went down the drain due to the sand winning activities.
Though her cocoa farm was left untouched, her rice farm as well as a vegetable farm were destroyed completely.
“The one who gave me the land to farm tells me she didn’t give anyone authorization to excavate the sand. They came and destroyed everything. Now I am burning charcoal so I can make money to invest in another farm. Life is difficult for my family”, she added.
Though most of the destruction of farms is done without the knowledge of the land owners, some willingly give the land to the sand miners without the knowledge of the farmers tilling the land.
The local assembly claims the sand winners have no authorization to undertake their activities.
However, a toll booth has been mounted to take levies from the sand winners.
The continuous sand winning activities threaten agriculture production in the area.
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