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The country’s cocoa industry is facing one of its biggest threats as illegal gold miners continue a major onslaught on cocoa farms, including those recently rehabilitated under a national programme.
The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) had warned that the industry could head for a disaster if the illegal activities were not checked.
Raising the alarm, the Executive Director of Cocoa Health and Extension Services, Rev. Edwin Afari, said the National Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme being undertaken by COCOBOD at a cost of about GH¢4.8 billion was under severe threat from illegal mining (gamalsey) activities.
“Recently, I was around the Boinso area in the Aowin municipality of the Western Region and for about 36.5 hectares that we did, they have cut down all of them for galamsey,” he told journalists in Cape Coast last Friday on the margins of a ceremony to award 15 visually impaired cocoa farmers from the Central, Western and Brong Ahafo cocoa regions for their immense contribution to cocoa production.
He said the situation had gone from bad to worse over the past 10 years, and consequently, appealed to the Minerals Commission to refrain from giving mining concessions to miners in cocoa growing areas, while urging all stakeholders to help curb the negative impact of galamsey on cocoa production in the country.
Rev. Afari stated that illegal mining activities were alarming in the Western South cocoa region, including the Wassa Akropong corridor, and parts of the Ashanti Region including Manso Adubia, Antoakrom, and Anyinam in the Eastern Region where a lot of hectares of juvenile cocoa farms had been destroyed.