Cocoa farmers protest against wanton destruction of cocoa trees by illegal miners

A group of cocoa farmers in the Ellembelle District of the Western region have petitioned the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, to use his good offices to intervene and avert wanton destruction of large hectares of their cocoa farms.

The group, which calls itself “Concerned Cocoa Farmers of Ellembelle” claims farms of their members are being destroyed by illegal miners. The group in their numbers defied the Saturday downpour to take to the streets to protest against the conduct of the miners.

They stormed one of the illegal mining sites at Sendu in the District to express their displeasure over the conduct of the illegal miners.They claimed the destruction being caused to their cocoa farms and water bodies through these nefarious activities cannot be quantified.

Benjamin Azachie, leader of Concerned Cocoa Farmers, presented the petition to the Member of Parliament for Ellembelle, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, who is also the deputy Minority Leader in the House of Parliament.

Cocoa farmers take to the streets to protest destruction of their cocoa farms by illegal miners

Leader Azachie urged the lawmaker to use his good offices to help stop the forceful takeover of cocoa farms by illegal miners (galamsey operators) in the area. He said the illegal mining activities continue to destroy their investments and clean water bodies in the affected areas of the District.

Last year, December, Legislator Armah Kofi Buah, together with journalists toured one of the communities where large tracts of cocoa farms were being destroyed to pave way for illegal mining.

The MP expressed deep concern over the destruction of the cocoa farms to pave way for the galamsey activities.

The legislator told journalists at the time that he had written to Minerals Commission (MC) to intervene to stop the miners behind the destruction of cocoa farms in the area.

Granting an interview to journalists after the demonstration, one of the affected residents, Grace Amihere, explained how the level of pollution being displayed in the area is negatively affecting her.

“I’m demonstrating because of the pollution of our water bodies and destruction of cocoa farms. How are we going to feed our children with the destruction of our farms? The operators suddenly come without prior notice to us.

“They tried to pay off my brother to mine on his cocoa farm, but because he refused to accept their money, they have destroyed half of the farm. Why are they doing this to us? This is what worries us. President Akufo-Addo must address this concern. Right now farmers are not getting water to drink,” she said.

Another affected resident, Ama Amihere, also claimed “They have destroyed rubber farms and also cheated the farmers after forcefully taking their farms. So, we are pleading with government that what is happening is not lawful.”

The once-clean River Fia has been polluted after the invasion of “galamsey” activities in the Nyamebekyere-Sendu area of Ellembelle District.

The Assembly Member of Nyamebekyere Electoral Area, Nicholas Kofi Mawuli, who is deeply worried about the negative development expressed concerns about the use of Chinese to mine in Ghana.

After over an hour of demonstrating at the Sendu galamsey site, the demonstrators (Concerned Cocoa Farmers) presented their petition to Legislator Armah-Kofi Buah. He assured the cocoa farmers of his commitment to forward the concerns raised in their petition to Parliament of Ghana for redress.

He, however, urged the affected residents not to keep quiet, but endeavor to speak loudly against illegal mining activities in the area. He said the war against the illegal mining activities in the area, remains a collective responsibility and all hands must be on deck to stem the tide.


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