The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has said only two percent of cocoa farmlands have been affected by illegal small-scale mining (Galamsey) activities.
This is according to a survey done by the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), he said.
Answering questions during a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, October 5, he said “Galamsey is enabling at the edges. COCOBOD has done a survey which shows that 2 percent of the area under cocoa has been affected by galamsey, 98 percent is not little left .”
He further expressed optimism that the government would win the fight against Galamsey.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto indicated a lot of goodwill among stakeholders including traditional authorities in the fight.
He said, “Yes you will say we have failed in galamsey fight but it is an ongoing battle and we think as a government, we are going to win at the end of the day because there is a lot of goodwill among stakeholders, traditional authorities and other stakeholders citizens in this country.”
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has told the National House of Chiefs that the task to protect the lands and the environment from the effect of galamsey is a joint responsibility between the government and the traditional authorities.
Mr. Akufo-Addo explained during a meeting with the Chiefs in Kumasi on Wednesday, October 5 that 80 percent of the lands in Ghana are in the custody of the chiefs.
This means that they have a role to play in protecting the resource, he said.
He said “80 percent of the lands in this country continue to be under your custody, much of it having been acquired through the blood and sacrifices of your ancestors. The remainder of 20 percent which I hold in the trust of the people of Ghana, derived from state acquisition from you. What this means is that ultimately, the welfare of the state of the lands is our joint responsibility, although by statute the minerals in the soil belong to the president in trust for the people.”
The chiefs on their part assured Mr. Akufo-Addo that they are solidly behind his administration to apply appropriate measures against all persons involved in Galamsey in the country.
President of the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi indicated that galamsey is having a negative effect on the environment and also threatens revenue mobilsation in the country hence, their resolve to support the President and government in fighting it.
He said, “your relentless war against forest degradation and illegal mining in Ghana is of great importance to Ghanaians, especially we the chiefs.”
“The effects of illegal mining on the environment threaten the survival of water bodies, farmlands, cocoa industry and even encourage school dropouts, this undermines the revenue mobilsation drive in the country.”
“In view of this development [the Chiefs] are solidly behind your administration to apply the appropriate sanctions against persons who are engaged in the practice of illegal mining irrespective of their status.”