The Eastern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) is worried about the influx of foreign nationals in parts of the region.
There are claims that the foreign nationals had connived with indigenes and engaging in illegal mining activities.
According to members of REGSEC, they were dumbfounded after witnessing first hand the extent of degradation and havoc allegedly caused by the foreign nationals in farms.
There are reports that the foreign nationals mainly from Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Niger use simple metal detecting devices to spot where the golds are and go on to undertake their illegal activities.
In an interview with Citi News, the Chairman of the Eastern Regional Security Council, Eric Kwakye Darfour condemned such activities.
He granted the interview after an emergency REGSEC meeting and site visit organized by the Kwahu West Municipal Security Council to seek help and lasting solutions to the upsurge of illegal mining which is on the rise in the Municipality.
“I am a cocoa farmer myself and my farm is just about 2 kilometers away from here. My grandparents have been cultivating cocoa for more than 120 years and we are here to continue. We all know the cocoa industry is the biggest industry in Ghana and cocoa has sustained the country since the days when Tetteh Quashie brought it to Ghana in 1876 thereabout.”
“The roads we are constructing in these areas are all cocoa roads and not gold roads and where we are going to get the resources, revenue, and cash to pay for those roads. Look at what we are doing to it, and this is about 10 acres of cocoa and some even goes far but look at what they are doing to it because the cocoa farmer or landowners think if someone comes to give him or her some five thousand Ghana cedis he’s happy but Ghana is not happy and I’m particularly not happy as well because this cocoa here when you push it, it will fall and as we advance you will see several cocoa farms which have been treated in the same manner,” he lamented.
He, however, indicated that these activities of the illegal miners may affect the standard and quality of our cocoa on the international market.
“All the cocoa trees are dying, citrus trees, banana and plantain farms are all being destroyed here and this will affect the cocoa sector because cocoa is a very sensitive plant so it will not get the needed attention and nutrients to produce the output that we need. We want to maximize and increase output from 900,000 tons to about 1.5 million metric tons so it’s a serious issue.”
“Apart from that if the international community gets to know that this is how we are treating our cocoa they will not be happy, people are now concerned about the chemicals and are thinking about consuming more organic food produce from the land that is very pure, germaine, and we cannot handle our cocoa and environment this way.”