Cocobod declares war on galamsey

Cocoa Farm Destroyed How illegal mining is destroying cocoa farms

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 Source: Mark Boye

The management of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) says it will intensify efforts at preventing illegal mining, popularly known as “galamsey,” from taking over of cocoa farms.

In view of the recent onslaught of illegal miners on cocoa farms, the COCOBOD says it has no option but to wage war on galamsey and protect the cocoa industry from collapse.

Wisdom Delali Amehame, deputy Intelligence Manager of COCOBOD, told The Enquirer in an interview that it is alarming the manner at which Chinese illegal miners are turning cocoa plantations into mining sites, stressing that these illegal miners have become a threat to the cocoa industry.

To this end, he said they will beef up security on all COCOBOD lands and also advocate for cocoa farmers not to sell off their lands to the illegal miners.

“As stakeholders it would be unfair on the cocoa farmers to collect our inputs like fertilizers and seeds, keep it and turn around to sell their land to the illegal miners, this is breach of contract and its unfair,” Amehame said.

Just last week, he explained, COCOBOD arrested two Chinese encroaching on its seed gardens at Wassa Saman in the Western Region.

“The two Chinese Illegal miners through a Ghanaian who owns Wonder Mining Company Limited introduced them (Chinese) to the COCOBOD land which they started the illegal mining immediately. The Chinese started mining 2-3 acres of the land with the help of the Ghanaian named Wonder,” he stated.

A security guard, Gordon Acquah, of the Seed Production Department of COCOBOD spotted two huge bulldozers with erected canopies mining on the land and drew the attention of the Intelligence Department of COCOBOD to the operation, he added.

After investigations, the culprits (Chinese) were arrested with the assistance of the Ghana Police on Saturday 22nd October, 2016 at Wassa Saman. The culprits were granted bail same day due to lack of communication.

“The Chinese on the same day after the bail went back to mine on the said land, and attention of COCOBOD was drawn and they were re-arrested by the police on Sunday 23rd October, 2016,” he said.

Explaining further, Mr. Amehame said the culprits have been handed over to the BNI for further interrogation and prosecution, adding that their agent (Wonder) is currently on the run.

He told the paper that the modus operandi of the Chinese illegal miners is to pay some monies to the cocoa farmers, and after acquiring the land start excavating by digging huge pits around the frontier of the farm.

They start pumping volumes of water out of the pits onto adjoining farms and thereby flooding other people’s farms.

This strategy, he said, does not only prevent the cocoa farmers from entering their farms but also ensures that the cocoa trees die due to the excessive water.

“They use excavators to dig huge pits on the entrance of the cocoa farms preventing others to enter their cocoa farms thereby forcing them to sell it to the Chinese,” he said.

Amehame also appealed to National Security and other security agencies to step up efforts at preventing the illegal miners from further taking over cocoa lands.

Source: Mark Boye
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