The President of the Concerned Cocoa Farmers Association, Nana Opambour Oboade Bonsu says the lack of a law protecting cocoa trees in the country is the reason for the invasion of cocoa farms by illegal miners.
According to him, although there have been numerous campaigns to mitigate the situation, more farmlands continue to be destroyed by galamseyers in their search for gold.
“When you head towards the Western Region, most of our cocoa lands have been marked and others are being destroyed just because of galamsey. When you come to the Eastern Region, there is an excavator within the Atiwa West District that is clearing cocoa that has reached its peak and its left with the farmer just to harvest it for Cocoa Board to get it and for the farmer to have something in his pocket.
“But there is an excavator clearing everything and it is heartbreaking. We say it each day but the problem is, there is no law protecting our cocoa trees and that is what we are advocating for.”
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Mr. Oboade Bonsu urged Cocoa Board and Parliament to take an interest in the current development, since destroying the country’s cocoa for gold will not help Ghana’s economy.
“The major challenge that we are facing as cocoa farmers is that they are just destroying the lands for the gold.
“Cocoa Board believes the farmers can do whatever they please with their lands but we the concerned farmers believe cocoa is the back bone of our economy so in this case when giving the seedlings out for free, and at the end of the day others are just destroying it for gold, it will come to square zero.”
His comments were in line with a discussion on Chinese invasion and its impact on the country following the re-arrest of Chinese ‘Galamsey’ kingpin, Aisha Huang.
In April this year, a research by the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) revealed that several cocoa farms in the Western, Ashanti and Eastern regions have been lost to illegal mining activities.
The research found that out of the over 20,000-acre of cocoa farms in the selected regions, more than 19,000 acres have been devastated by galamsey.
This means about 80 per cent of the selected cocoa farms were destroyed between 2019 and 2020.
This situation is threatening 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.
But reacting to this, the Public Affairs Manager for COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo said Cocoa Board is working around the clock to rehabilitate cocoa farms that have been destroyed by illegal mining.
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