COCOBOD Boss Laments About Galamsey On Cocoa Farms
CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), has said the activities of illegal miners will destroy Ghana’s economy if not controlled.
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo lamented as he visited cocoa farms at Osino in the Fanteakwa South District in the Eastern region where he saw that the rate at which the farms had been destroyed was devastating. He went on to caution government of degraded lands and profit loss in the cocoa sector.
“You can see the way illegal miners — galamsey operators — have devastated not just the land but the cocoa farm which used to be here, these are clear saboteurs of Ghana. This is a very sad state of affairs that amounted to the destruction of the backbone of the economy,” he said.
A bird’s eye view of the cocoa farms at Osino in the Fanteakwa South District in the Eastern region shows the gullies created by desperate illegal miners who are thirsty for gold.
A bird's eye view of the cocoa farms
Samuel Tetteh Korboe is a cocoa farmer who owns swathes of cocoa lands. He believes now is the time for COCOBOD to help farmers reclaim their lands.
“What we must consider now are pragmatic ways of reclaiming these cocoa lands. My heart bleeds as a cocoa farmer seeing this happen on a daily basis. Let us have farmers reclaim these lands preferably through the planting of more cocoa trees,” he stated.
The CEO of Korboe farms and winner of the 2019 International Cocoa Awards indicated that the challenge faced by cocoa famers is worldwide however, he emphasized that this is the best time for the sector.
“This challenge is worldwide. That’s why I feel hurt realizing Ghana does not have a warehouse for storage of cocoa beans. This could be the best time to store these beans and begin our own local processing. So that instead of exporting seeds that nobody will buy now, we can improve local markets,” he disclosed in an interview.
Cocoa farmers and the cocoa industry at large are faced by numerous challenges however, one of the major concerns by the sector is the presence of ‘galamsey’ operators and their activities.
The peril threatens to undo the investments made by the government to revolutionize cocoa farming and increase yields.
So far, the Eastern region — where the CEO witnessed the incident — the Western, Western North and Ashanti regions are the worst affected by illegal mining.
Ghana’s cocoa sector remains the backbone of the economy considering its huge contribution to GDP.