Farmlands in mining communities under siege in Central Region

Farmlands in mining communities under siege in Central Region

Farmers in the Central Region are perplexed by activities of illegal miners as they face possible loss of their farms and arable land, situations that can plunge them into perpetual poverty.

Large plantations of cocoa have already been destroyed by illegal miners and with even more on the verge of being destroyed.

In communities such as Mfantseman, Powerline and in the Upper Denkyira East and West Districts farmers are always torn between selling their farms to miners for exploration or keep their farms for eventual destruction and have nothing.

Miners deliberately excavate deep trenches around farms of owners who resolve never to sell their farms. With time, leaching causes the cocoa trees to whither and die completely. Such situations present the miners an advantage position to bargain with vulnerable farmers for their land.

Monies paid to such farmers are not sustainable enough and they are eventually left in abject poverty.

Having began growing his cocoa farm in the heart of a then virgin forest some eight years ago, 53-year-old Paul Adokor’s farm has reached maturity stage and this is when he should be enjoying the fruits of his sweat in peace. But his farm is facing high risk as illegal miners have dug around his farm after his colleague farmers he shared boundary with sold them to illegal miners.

He tells Metro News that gaining access to his farm has even become almost impossible as deep trenches have been dug around his farm.

It’s also become dangerous for his children to go to school in the nearby community without supervision.

Clearly, desperation and frustration are what these farmers are going through.

Waste water containing hard metals and substances such as mercury run through cocoa farms from mining sites. The situation affects productivity and eventual killing of cocoa trees. This farmer has lost a sizable portion of his cocoa farm resulting to losses.

Getting the illegal miner who caused to destruction to even pay for compensation has become difficult.

He’s appealing for government’s intervention to call the illegal miners to order.

Visible signs of desertification and drought are showing at these areas. The soil appears to be completely destroyed and may take much effort to rehabilitate to make farming possible.

The farmers say without the intervention of authorities to halt the activities of galamsey operators they may have to unwillingly cede their farms to the galamseyers and battle poverty in their days of old.

Another striking challenge is the transportation of farm produce and cocoa. The feeder road that connects Mfantseman, Powerline, Akurakan, Appiakrom, Pokukrom and several other communities to Nkotumso and Dunkwa in the Upper Denkyira West and East Districts respectively where farmers sell their produce have completely deteriorated by mining activities and the plying of heavy equipment on the road.

Recently, the communities were completely cut off as activities on and around the Offin caused the river to overflow and extend its banks.

Galamseyers continue to operate in close proximity to the road with impunity causing residents to worry about the seeming lose of grip in fighting the menace by authorities.

By: Akwasi Addo | | Ghana

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