The Deputy CEO in charge of Finance and Administration at the Ghana Cocoa Board, Emmanuel Ray Ankrah, says it is faced with an unprecedented challenge of illegal mining (galamsay) which has the potential of not only crippling the cocoa sector, but also threatening basic means of survival.
He made the statement at the exhibition day towards the Cocoa day Celebrations at Suhum in the Eastern Region.
“In our effort to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and improve the fortunes of the industry, we are faced with an unprecedented challenge of illegal mining which has the potential of not only crippling the cocoa sector, but also threatening our basic means of survival as humans – the Environment,” he said.
He explained “recent agitation by global consumers, the European Union, other trading partners and global civil society organisations, for a more environmentally friendly and sustainable farming practices, has made it imperative to adopt to a more aggressive approach to sustainable cocoa production.“
He noted his outfit is bent on sensitising people to keep their cocoa trees.
The Eastern Regional Minister Seth Kwame Acheampong also expressed concern at the proliferation of illegal mining activities in cocoa growing communities.
“The activities of illegal miners in cocoa farms affect the environment and water bodies which invariably impacts negatively on the social-economic fabric of the communities,“ he said.
“In recent series of reportages , we hear that cocoa farms are being sold to illegal foreign miners for huge sums of money. This destroys farmlands with grown cocoa trees. The beautiful landscape with healthy trees become a maze of ditches and death traps. These activities prevent the indigenes from taking up farming activities and thereby affecting their livelihoods,“ the minister added.
He was emphatic the one time sale of cocoa lands to foreigners would not create wealth in one day.
But rather, through the golden production of cocoa beans which creates jobs and business for millions of people on annual basis.
The four-day exhibition is aimed at creating the platform for stakeholders to showcase their various products to the stakeholders in Suhum in particular and the Eastern Region.
The theme for this year’s Cocoa Day Celebration on October 1,2022 is ; COCOBOD @ 75: Sustaining Our Environment, Wealth and Health”.
By Yvonne Neequaye|E/R|Onuaonline.com