400 acres of cocoa farms at risk as mining exploration begins in Atwima Nwabiagya

Over 400 acres of cocoa farms are being threatened in the Atwima Nwabiagya South Municipality in the Ashanti Region as a foreign-owned gold mining firm is carrying out exploration in the area.

Five cocoa-growing communities will be affected when the firm, MIGOP Mining Limited begins full operations after carrying out the ongoing exploration.

The farms are part of the newly rehabilitated cocoa farms, an intervention by the Ghana Cocoa Board after an outbreak of Cocoa Swollen Shot Virus Disease in the communities.

Just as this intervention by the COCOBOD was beginning to yield some fruits, the mining firm which insists it has a permit from the Minerals Commission has started exploration and threatening the farms.

Cocoa communities to be affected by mining operations include, Apuoyem, Brahebebome, Brosanko, Ouagadougou and Nkotonmire.

The monetary value of cocoa produced by these communities according to the Ghana COCOBOD is over GH¢316, 000

Head of anti-illegal mining Units at COCOBOD, Professor Michael Kwarteng laments the impact and threats of activities of the mining firm on Cocoa production in the affected communities.

“Yesterday I received a call from the executive director of the cocoa health and extension division that there is this mining company, MIGOP Mining Limited. They’ve come to this our cocoa district. To them, they’ve been given license to do prospecting and they’ve destroyed a lot of our cocoa farms. Farmers have been preventing them but they are using security personnel to intimidate them and then going ahead with their activities. So when I received this I said no, I can’t sit down for even a day.

“Looking at what is happening, the evidence is there. They’ve destroyed some of the cocoa farms. COCOBOD we are not aware of what is going on. I always say whenever you are securing any concession, you have to contact the regulator of that production, being cocoa, or whatever.

“Meanwhile when you go to the minerals commission, the Mining Acts 703 sections 18(1)(2), it tells you that mining companies are supposed to contact bodies that regulate that farm. So they are violating that aspect of their own law. So, mining companies are taking advantage of this and are destroying our farms everywhere,” he stated.

On March 18, 2024, MIGOP Mining Limited wrote to the Ghana Cocoa Board about the exploration activities it was carrying out in the affected communities.

Although the Mining Firm admits it has destroyed some cocoa farms in the exploration activities, it maintains it has permission from the Minerals Commission to carry out the exercise in the area.

Community Relations Officer for MIGOP Mining Limited, Richard Gyasi said some affected farmers have been duly compensated.

“We are only doing exploration so we are not destroying any crop. Even though at least one or two crops have been affected we are using the government rate to pay them. For now, we are in the exploration stage, we will now move to the development stage before we start the mining. So, we are not destroying crops as it has been portrayed,” he stated.

Source: citinewsroom

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