Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has proposed an amount of GH¢3,630,000 as compensation to cocoa farmers who have lost their lands to illegal miners in a bid to join Government’s crackdown on illegal mining on cocoa farms.
Presenting the policy document on COCOBOD’s position on the fight against illegal mining, Dr Emmanuel Dwomoh, disclosed that cocoa generates more than USD2.2 billion annually in foreign earnings to Ghana. He said cocoa is the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy. Therefore, the Board would not renege on its efforts to sustain the cocoa sector by influencing government policies aimed at deterring illegal miners, he added.
Dr. Dwomoh emphasized that illegal mining has had disastrous effects on the environment. It has resulted in crop loss, reduction in farmers’ incomes, the contamination of water bodies and threats to wildlife, he noted. He also said COCOBOD had invested an amount of USD200 million for farm rehabilitation, irrigation and fertilizer subsidies. Other uses include public sensitization and education to facilitate sustainable production.
“COCOBOD is paying GH¢11,892 per acre of each rehabilitated farm. We urge Government to safeguard these investments to avoid losing them to illegal mining…”Dr Emmanuel Dwomoh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
He further indicated that chemicals used by illegal miners hasn’t affected the quality of cocoa beans. “No, we have not received any report from anyone about that,” he said.
According to COCOBOD, Ghana exports 80% of its cocoa into the European Union market. Hence, the Board is worried about the impact galamsey menace will have on the finances of the country and the cocoa sector.
Actions towards illegal mining
Dr. Dwomoh said that a legislative framework that focuses on processing should be developed. This will be an approach towards sustainable land and water management system in cocoa-growing areas where illegal mining is rife.
“Where mining is inevitable, an amount of GH¢3,630,000.00 being projected revenue per hectare should be paid as compensation to the farmer whose farm has been destroyed.”Dr Emmanuel Dwomoh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
He said there is the need for COCOBOD and the Lands and Minerals Commission to collaborate, streamline and tighten sanctions against illegal miners in cocoa-growing regions.
“There should be no issuance of licenses or leases for mining in cocoa farmlands until a public forum is organized in prospected communities.”Dr Emmanuel Dwomoh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
On disease control, he noted that his outfit provide farmers with disease-control products. These include insecticide for the control of insect pest that attacked cocoa as well as fertilizers for cocoa farmers. He said COCOBOD has also recruited 30,000 pollinators all over the cocoa growing regions to do hand pollination for cocoa farmers.
“Cocoa is a strong pillar in stabilizing the Cedi unlike other minerals which have high capital flight. Cocoa helps in the restoration of the forest in the middle belt because of the nature of its cultivation.”Dr Emmanuel Dwomoh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Furthermore, he added that his outfit is doing everything for cocoa farmers to improve upon their livelihood.
“Right from the word go, we provide the farmers with agriculture extension officers. These officers educate them on good agricultural practices.”Dr Emmanuel Dwomoh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
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