Denkyira (C/R), April. 5, GNA – Some cocoa farmers in the Upper Denkyira East District in the Central Region have found a way to make ‘quick’ money.
They are selling their farm lands to illegal miners, popularly known as ‘Galamsey’ operators for various sums of money.
An acre of land is being bought by the illegal miners for about GH¢ 6,500, so the number of acres a farmer wishes to give up is multiplied by the said amount.
Mr Isaac Boamah, the 2011 Best District Farmer who made this Known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Dunkwa-On Offin said once these illegal miners, mostly Chinese discover gold or any other mineral on a farm, they approach the owners and offer them the amount.
According to him after the purchase of the land, the illegal miners then cut down all the cocoa trees and begin their mining activities which completely destroy the land.
He described the situation as unfortunate and said it killing the cocoa industry and the future of the farmers involved.
Mr Boamah called on the Minerals Commission to as a matter of urgency check the licenses of miners.
He urged farmers to desist from the practice, which he described as ‘greed’.
Mr Peter Owusu-Ashia Jnr, Municipal Chief Executive confirmed the story to the GNA and said raids are usually organised to drive away the Galamsey operators.
He said the approved practice is for prospective miners to consult the Minerals Commission to find out if lands they are interested in could be used for mining.
Mr Owusu-Ashia explained that those who go through the right processes are made to pay among other things, crops compensation and goodwill fees as well as execute a development project for the community, in which they operate as part of their social corporate responsibility.
According to him, the Assembly’s bye laws state that licensed miners should display their documents and license at their sites in order to distinguish them from the illegal ones in case of unannounced raids by security agencies.
He said some of the illegal miners operate at night and called on the task force and other security agencies to embark on night patrols in order to arrest them.
Mt Owusu-Ashia urged the Minerals Commission to check and control the number of miners who are given permits to operate in an area.
He also advised farmers and chiefs in the area to desist from selling their lands to illegal miners.