The European Union (EU) is threatening to ban cocoa from Ghana if the negative impact of illegal mining on the country’s environment persists.
Making a presentation at the ongoing National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining in Accra today, April 15, 2021, the Deputy Chief Executive in-Charge of Agronomy and Quality Control at COCOBOD, Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, expressed fears about the impact of the development on Ghana’s cocoa sector.
Currently, Ghana exports 80 percent of its cocoa to the European Union.
Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh believes immediate action must be taken to avert the possible sanctions.
“As we speak, EU is threatening to ban Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, to impose legislative instrument restrictions on the importation of cocoa from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to their courts.”
He said the EU is taking this course of action because areas shown in satellite images to have been forested in the 70s and 80s in Ghana, have all experienced land degradation in the decades since.
“When you take the satellite images, you will see some places in red. The EU thinks that all those places are red because cocoa is causing land degradation [in Ghana], meanwhile, it is as a result of the galamsey activities.”
He further raised concerns about the devastating effects of the galamsey activities on the production of cocoa in Ghana and its exportation.
“The impact of these mining activities on cocoa production is enormous. There is crop loss, reduction of crop yield and income, loss of vegetation, the fertility of the crop soil is destroyed and [there’s also] an early dropping of immature pods as a result of the chemicals that they use,” he lamented.
In January 2021, the European Union announced that it will contribute €25 million to enhance the economic, social and environmental sustainability of cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon who are, respectively, the first, second and fifth-biggest cocoa producers, generating almost 70% of the world’s total production.
This funding is to strengthen the partnership between Team Europe (composed of the EU, its Member States, and European financial institutions) and the three cocoa-producing countries and aims at ensuring a decent living income for farmers, halting deforestation and eliminating child labour.