As China and South Asia threaten Ghana’s cocoa industry, the Ghana Cocoa Board has revealed that more than 5,000 hectares of cocoa farmlands in the Western North Region have been destroyed by illegal mining activities popularly called “Galamsey”.
The size of the destroyed farms are equivalent to some 15,000 football fields which, under ideal agricultural practices, could generate over 100 metric tonnes of dry cocoa beans and fetch the country some US$200,000 annually.
The disturbing disclosure was made by the Deputy Chief Executive in-Charge of Agronomy and Quality Control at the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, at the recently organised National Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining in Accra.
“When we look at the table that is being shown now, you’ll realise that most of these, if you take Western North, for instance, most of the farms that we have established over the years have all been affected by galamsey and illegal mining”.
“In Western North alone, over 5,000 hectares of land under cocoa cultivation have been destroyed by illegal mining”, Dr. Agyemang Dwomoh revealed.
He said similar havoc is being wreaked in other cocoa-growing regions, saying,” When you come to Eastern and Ashanti Region, the situation is the same. And as we speak, more harm is being done in this cocoa communities”, he noted, adding: “The impact of these mining activities on cocoa production is enormous”.
Meanwhile, the European Union is threatening to ban Ghana’s cocoa beans from being exported to Europe because traces of mercury are being found in the beans. The mercury reportedly seeped into the crops from the ones being used by the illegal miners to extract gold.