Farmers call for policy on cutting cocoa trees

Cocoa farmers in the East Akim  Municipality have called for a policy on the cutting down of cocoa trees for mining or harvesting of timber.

They claimed that despite the contribution of cocoa to the national economy, cocoa farmers were often being harassed to give away their cocoa farms for mining or the cutting down of timber, as if cocoa was not important to the country.

The farmers said in recent times, people came to them with documents that their farms had been allocated to them for mining purposes or to cut down timber, resulting in the destruction of their farms. 

This came out at a stakeholders meeting organized by the Media Coalitiom Against Galamsey at Kibi.

They therefore wanted the Minerals Commission and the Lands Commission to weigh the economic benefits of timber and gold against that of cocoa to the country, before giving up cocoa lands as concessions.

Dr Anthony Duah of the Ghana Water Company, stated that all the money realized from illegal mining would not be use to replace the life of a single individual, in relation to the end results of drinking polluted or contaminated water.

He explained that the threat to the sources of water to the country by illegal mining was a threat to the life of the people and their survival.

Dr Duah said the activities of illegal miner polluted the Birim River to the extent that many of the water treatment plants of the Ghana Water Company on the Birim River had to be shut down and large numbers of people were denied access to portable water.

He called for cooperation and support for the activities of Operation Vanguard to help stop the activities of illegal miners to help protect the environment.

Dr Isaac Karikari of the Inter-Sectorial Integrated Mining Project secretariat explained that the project took into consideration, all the short falls of all policies taken by previous governments to regulate illegal mining since the time of former President Jerry Rawlings.

He said the implementation of the project would cost US$ 200 and would take care of the interest of all stakeholders in the gold mining value chain including landlords, chiefs, mining communities and small scale miners. 

Mr Nii Laryea Sowah of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey called for the review of the Mineral and Mining Law to be in favour of local investors in mining, adding that the law in its present from favoured foreign investors more than the local investors.

Mr Sowah said eight Town Hall meetings and three stakeholders meeting across the country had been held, to sensitize people on the dangers of illegal mining, since the establishment of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, little over a year ago.

During an open forum session, Mr Stephen Lempu of the Department of Social Welfare, called for support for Operation Vanguard, which was being use to enforce the ban on small scale mining across the country.

He said since the Operation Vanguard started work, illegal mining had drastically reduced and issues of pregnant women without husbands had reduced drastically in the East Akim Municipality.

Source: GNA

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