The Bonsaaso Millennium Villages project (MVP), the single biggest poverty reduction project in the deprived Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region, is under threat from illegal gold mining (galamsey) activities.
For some time now, the galamsey operators have invaded some of the areas where the MVP’s projects are located thus threatening the very existence of those facilities.
The project is benefiting about 30,000 people in 30 rural communities where majority of the people are into the cultivation of cocoa and food crops.
It aims at ending extreme poverty and meeting the MDG’s eight globally endorsed targets that address the problems of poverty, health, gender equality and disease.
Initiating a paradigm shift, the millennium villages promote integrated approach to rural development, using evidence based technologies and strategies in each sector, with sufficient investment over a period of time.
However, illegal miners have destroyed some of the farms, mostly cocoa and food crops farms established under the MVP thus endangering the objective of the project to fighting poverty in the beneficiary communities.
As part of measures to check the illegal mining and other environmentally unfriendly activities in the project area, a 13-member district natural resource management committee has been formed at the instance of the district assembly and the MVP.
The committee would, among other things, embark on educational campaigns targeted mostly at illegal mining with the view to protecting the MVP.
Membership of the committee was drawn from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, the police, Forestry Services Department, and the district administration.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Charles Oti-Prempeh, said the project was dear to the heart of the district and as such every efforts must be made to protect it.
He charged the committee members to work assiduously to enable the committee achieve its objectives.
He also urged the committee to educate the public on other government policies on environmental protection.
The MVP cluster team manager, Mr Samuel Danquah, appealed to chiefs and opinions leaders to play leading roles in checking environmental degradation in the district.