The government has called for a rethink of its anti-galamsey strategy

A senior lecturer in agricultural economics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Associate Professor Robert Aidoo, has advised the government to go back to the drawing board and reconsider its stance in the fight against illegal mining or galamsey.

According to him, although the government constantly emphasized its commitment to combat the threat, its actions do not necessarily confirm this thesis.

His comments follow the recent disclosure by the Ghana Cocoa Board CEO, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, that Cocobod had to return $250 million acquired from the African Development Bank, partly for the irrigation of cocoa plantations.

According to him, consultants from the Ghana Irrigation Authority tasked with implementing the project advised against its feasibility due to the pollution of rivers by illegal mining activities that posed a threat to cocoa trees.

Professor Aidoo said the advice not to proceed with the project was correct and that it was time for the government to review the situation to identify a strategy to address the mining problem before cocoa revenues were lost.

I keep talking Joy FM’s top story On May 10, he said: “I think it is disturbing that Ghana is fighting this galamsey battle. I think it’s a good idea for Cocobod to refund the money because if you start this project you will be a total loss and repaying the loan will become a big problem for the country. Therefore, it is a good idea to refund your money. But the bigger issue is how quickly we will tackle galamsey to keep our farms free.

“Our farmers will be able to engage in farming in peace… that’s why I think the government really needs to respond decisively and take a second look at the whole fight against galamsey,” he said.

He explained that the country’s economy is linked to Ghana’s cocoa economy and whenever issues related to cocoa production are not properly addressed, it also affects the Ghanaian economy.

“This is about Ghana’s economy. When you touch cocoa, you touch Ghana’s economy. When cocoa money doesn’t come in, our currency has problems. There are many problems facing the country, so I believe that we need to look beyond the few people who are involved in illegal mining and collecting money and look at the national interest, otherwise sooner or later we will lose this entire industry. Ghana that I have relied on for so long,” he warned.

The associate professor noted that studies have shown that trace amounts of mercury can be found in cocoa, explaining that if this does not happen, markets will no longer be available to Ghana as these markets will not accept contaminated products.

In the same program, the lead organizer of the Anti-Galamsey Media Coalition, Dr. Kenneth Ashigbey, said that the issue of the dangers of illegal mining was more serious than most of the government was willing to admit.

He explained that the forest reserves are currently highly contaminated and despite efforts to investigate those running such operations, most of their efforts have not yielded the necessary results.

Dr Ashigbey argued that most river water bodies are polluted and the Ghana Water Company has already suggested that more chemicals are now being used to purify water, which sometimes results in aluminum residues being deposited in these water bodies.

He added that if these concerns were not addressed quickly, Ghana may even have to import drinking water.

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