Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has raised alarm over the destruction caused by activities of illegal gold and diamond miners to the vast cocoa farmlands and plantations in the country.
Mr. Aidoo, who was a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Amenfi East and a former Western Regional Minister under the Kufuor administration, expressed shock at the way and manner some chiefs and land owners forced cocoa farmers to sell out their cocoa farmlands to illegal gold and diamond miners.
“We are disappointed in cocoa farmers, cutting down their farms and selling their lands to illegal gold and diamond miners. These practices are unacceptable because they are great threat to our cocoa production in the country. The illegal gold and diamond mining activities are worrying to us. It is also affecting our water bodies and farmlands,” Mr. Aidoo bemoaned.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Accra recently, Mr. Aidoo warned Ghanaians to stop the habit of destroying cocoa farmlands for gold mining activities.
He stressed that “if this disturbing trend was not changed it would go a long way to ruin Ghana’s beautiful chance of maintaining its position as the second largest cocoa production country in the world.”
He indicated that his outfit understands the devastating effects of the illegal gold activities.
Mr. Aidoo hinted that his outfit will, therefore, would be working with key stakeholders in the cocoa sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including international donor communities to minimise the destruction of cocoa farms by activities of illegal miners.
A total of over 7,000 cocoa farmers at Goaso in the Asuanafo North Municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region had cut down their cocoa farms for gold mining, a development which Mr. Aidoo has raised grave concern, underscoring the importance of cocoa in Ghanaian economy.