Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister of Agriculture, has disclosed that only 2% of cocoa lands have been affected by illegal small-scale mining, galamsey, activities.
In an interview with Accra-based Joy News’ Ashanti regional correspondent, he said the figure was determined from a COCOBOD study.
“For me, in terms of acreages, it is not much and I have the evidence. COCOBOD did a survey and they are saying that 2% of land under cocoa has been destroyed by galamsey. 2% is nothing.
“And cocoa is concentrated in the gold belt, so if you extend it to the north in terms of total, it is not much,” he said.
The Ashanti Region is the hotspot for galamsey activities, a concern that has been raised by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as recently as over the weekend when he met the US ambassador.
Galamsey activities have for years now ravaged water bodies, forests and other arable lands across the Ashanti and Eastern regions. This is despite the government’s efforts, including the deployment of military and police contingents, to stamp out the canker.
The Minister is also concerned about the water pollution that comes with the use of chemicals like cyanide and mercury, which could end up in the food that is produced in these mining areas.
“What is very important is the water pollution, the cyanide and the other chemicals, mercury which goes into the food chain and ends up in our stomachs, you journalists don’t talk about that, for me that is the most dangerous part,” he stressed.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to renew the fight against galamsey during a meeting with the National House of Chiefs and Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives at Manhyia.