Farmers in the Kwaebiberem Municipality in the Eastern Region have attributed the low monetary returns from their farms as the reason they exchange their farmlands for illegal mining also known as galamsey.
The farmers, who are mostly cocoa farmers, want the producer price of cocoa increased to cushion them taking into consideration the current economic mishaps.
Already, cocoa farms in Kwaebiberem have been left with large pits by illegal small-scale miners.
But these farmers say the government’s investment in the sector will help end the menace.
“If the government wants the cocoa sector to thrive, it has to increase the price at which cocoa is sold. Some farmers hand over their lands to illegal miners because they are offered good sums of money. Transportation alone takes so much of our proceeds. How do we survive and cater for our children’s education? Something must be done, otherwise we will import cocoa other than export”, one of them lamented.
The youth in the area are said to be engaged in illegal acts because most of the town’s cocoa farmlands have been sold by family members for illegal mining (galamsey) use.
A visit by Citi News to the area revealed cocoa farms have been left with large pits by illegal small-scale miners.
Residents said unknown persons came from outside the community to prospect and eventually destroy the land with their illegal mining activities.
Some of the pits in the area had been left for up to eight years.
Despite the government’s rhetoric in the fight against illegal mining, illegal miners were still at work in this particular district.
A resident who spoke to Citi News noted that the situation has become dire.
“This is the most dangerous aspect. People have their cocoa farms, they sell them and after taking the money, that’s all. Some invest the money in other businesses, but that is not favourable for everyone.”