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Cocoa farmers are selling farms to illegal miners because Gov’t is cheating them – B.O.T

The Regional Coordinator for the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs in charge of Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria Cameron, and Sierra Leone (CAYE)-West Africa, Bernard Oduro Takyi (BOT) has bemoaned the impoverished nature of cocoa farmers in the country.

He stated that the government has been shortchanging farmers in the cocoa growing sector because the proceeds of the exportation of the commodity does not impact the farmers directly.

He argues that over 60% of the working force of the country still depend on Agriculture as the source of employment and livelihood but because the government has not brought up innovative policies to boost agriculture, farmers still remain poor.

To him, that was the reason some farmers are selling their cocoa farms to individuals to engage in illegal mining.

B.O.T’s concerns come at a time the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has expressed worry over the alarming rate at which cocoa farms are being destroyed by illegal mining, also called galamsey, across the country.

According to a Daily Graphic report recently, the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said  that more than 19,000 hectares (Ha) of cocoa farms had either been destroyed or affected by galamsey activities, leading to loss of income to farmers and investments by the board and the country at large.

In the presentation, made to the members of the boards of directors of COCOBOD and the Minerals Commission at a joint board meeting to find lasting solutions to the canker, Mr.  Aidoo said the destruction of cocoa farms through galamsey was pronounced in the Eastern, Western and Ashanti regions, from where more than 90 per cent of the country’s total cocoa production comes.

But reacting to the development on Dwaboase on TV XYZ, Oduro Takyi, a farmer and entrepreneur indicated that the farmers were willingly selling their farmlands to the miners because they could get more than the cash crop gives them in monetary terms.

“If you [the government] put in policies that make the farmers rich, especially giving them insurance and pension schemes, they will not sell their farm lands to illegal miners,“ he said as he lambasted the government over “sloganeering“.

“The people who are in rural areas have not seen the impact of cocoa in the areas where there are plantations. There must be economic dividend for farmers, someone has been farming for about 30 years but has not seen any significant progress as a result of farming the cash crop. This is because then government has been shortchanging cocoa farmers; the farmers are cheated when it comes to sharing proceeds of cocoa exports,“ he contended.

Touching on the story of China and Cocoa farming, he said the Asian country was likely to overtake Ivory Coast and Ghana in cocoa production because of the better policies of the government.

“In China, a lot of people are going into cocoa farming because they know their government will prioritise their sweat and give them what they deserve unlike Ghana,“ he added.

He therefore charged the government to be honest with the fight against galamsey and adopt innovative ways of boosting cocoa production in the country.

 

Source: Myxyzonline.com|Ghana

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