Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has stated that major progress is being made in the fight against illegal mining popularly called galamsey in the country.
This progress, he told parliament, is as a result of the many interventions put in place by government to nib the illegal activity which has polluted major water bodies in the bud.
“I am happy to report to the House that data from the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources indicates that the turbidity level of major water bodies in our country is improving.
“This suggests that the many interventions government has put in place to address illegal small scale mining are yielding results,” he said.
Mr Jinapor, MP, Damango, made this revelation on the floor of Parliament in Accra yesterday while commenting on a statement made to observe the National Chocolate Day.
The Day, first observed in 2005, was set aside to consume cocoa and cocoa products and to highlight the importance of the cash crop to the Ghanaian economy.
The maker of the statement, Isaac Yaw Opoku, MP, Offinso South and Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, expressed concern about the declining production level amidst reports of cocoa farm take-overs by illegal small scale miners. But Mr Jinapor said the government would not reflect on its mandate to preserve the cocoa sector which has been the spine of the Ghanaian economy.
“I want to conclude by assuring the House that government will put in place all necessary measures to ensure that we sanitise this sector and come to a point where the small scale mining sector ran concurrently with the cocoa sector where farmers do not sell their farms to miners which has affected productivity in recent years.
“This fight must be a collective fight. It must be a fight for both sides of the House, all stakeholders and citizens.
“President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is mindful of his legal and constitutional obligations and under his watch, we will resolve this age old problem and have our cocoa sector thrive.”
Ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee and MP for Asunafo South, Eric Opoku, on his part said posterity would not forgive the current generation if it looked on for the country’s cocoa sector and water bodies to be destroyed by illegal mining activities.
He underscored the need for increased cocoa processing factories with Ghana’s cocoa to add value to the cash crop.
By so doing, he was hopeful jobs would be created for the teeming unemployed youth and urged government to fulfill its promise of a chocolate bar for each basic school children for which a US$5 million facility has been accessed.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI