IDEG study reveals galamsey harming Ghana’s cocoa production
A study conducted by the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), on the effects of Galamsey (illegal small-scale mining) on cocoa production in Ghana has revealed that the menace had dire consequences on the cocoa industry.
Ms. Eileen Goody Gans-Lartey, the Project Officer for IDEG said Ghana did not only risk losing the estimated 2 billion US dollars income it got from cocoa exports, but also risked losing its identity as a world-leading cocoa producing country. Ms Gans-Lartey said this at IDEG’s national advocacy dialogue on ‘Galamsey and its Devastating Effects on Cocoa Communities’ held in Accra.
She said because there was the notion among galamseyers that cocoa lands were rich in gold, they targeted cocoa farms to carry out their illegal mining. “An interview with a cocoa farmer in the Juaboso District in the Western Region indicated that there has been a drop from the number of bags he was able to produce between 2014 and 2015 crop season.
He said in the previous year he produced 800 bags of cocoa but was only able to produce 550 in the next, after the arrival of illegal miners in the community”. Ms Gans-Lartey said from the study, it was discovered that, the illegal miners, whom were mostly Chinese nationals and claimed they had licences to operate, buy hectares of cocoa land at very low prices and end up taking more than they pay for.
Ms Gans-Lartey said the activity of illegal mining also harmed the social lives of people in the cocoa-producing communities, as they are introduced to gambling introduced to the communities by foreigners. She said the gambling most often ended in brawls and fights which were not healthy to the social development of the inhabitants of these cocoa producing communities.
Hagar Owusu, a member of the Governance Issues Forum Network (GIFNet) of IDEG from Ahafo Ano North District in the Ashanti Region, also a cocoa producing community, said dredges created by galamseyers were killing the people of the community.
She also said because of the stagnant waters that came with illegal mining, which breaded mosquitoes in the community, they were also losing lives to the malaria.
Ms Owusu said kids in the communities were opting to join illegal miners than go to school.
Mrs Yaa Peprah Amekudzi, the Country Lead for Mendelez International Cocoa Life said the ramifications galamsey was having on cocoa farming would discourage the youth from going into venturing into cocoa farming which could spell doom for the industry.
Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, the Executive Director of IDEG called on government to go to the communities were illegal miners had left dredges and cover them up as soon as possible before the dredges killed more people than it already has.