Head of Public Affairs highlights the socio-economic impact and government initiatives
In a recent address, Mr. Stephen Fiifi Boafo, the Head of Public Affairs at COCOBOD, reiterated the dire consequences of illegal mining, commonly known as galamsey, on the livelihoods of cocoa farmers in the country. Emphasizing the long-term implications, he highlighted the erosion of farmers’ earnings and the deprivation of generational legacies.
According to Mr. Boafo, illegal miners employ enticing promises to lure cocoa farmers into surrendering their precious cocoa farms. However, this often results in an impoverishing situation for the unsuspecting farmers, leaving them with nothing to depend on during their retirement years.
The Head of Public Affairs earnestly appealed to cocoa farmers to resist any attempts made by illegal miners to persuade them into selling off their lands. He stressed that such actions ultimately strip them of their lifetime investments and impede the progress of their future generations.
Mr. Boafo made these remarks during a ceremony organized by Goldfields Ghana Limited at Damang. The event aimed to distribute agro-inputs to cocoa farmers in their catchment communities. Taking advantage of the gathering, Mr. Boafo reminded farmers about the government’s collaborative efforts with the Ghana Cocoa Board and the National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to enhance the lives of cocoa farmers, particularly during retirement.
He emphasized the significance of the Cocoa Farmers Pension Scheme, which ensures a secure future and provides a decent means of livelihood post-retirement. Mr. Boafo explained that, similar to other pension schemes, the monthly earnings of farmers depend on their contributions. He cautioned against selling cocoa farms for mining activities, as it would deprive themselves and future generations of the opportunity to earn a decent livelihood.
Mr. Boafo acknowledged that, apart from the Pension Scheme, COCOBOD is implementing various interventions to support farmers, such as cocoa mass spraying, rehabilitation, pruning, hand pollination, and highly subsidized fertilizers. These initiatives come at a substantial cost to the government, further reinforcing the need to safeguard the future of the cocoa industry by eradicating illegal mining practices.
Expressing gratitude for Goldfields Ghana Limited’s Cocoa Farmers Foundation Support Programme, Mr. Fiifi Boafo praised the mining company’s gesture, urging other mining firms to emulate their example. He emphasized that, historically, mining and cocoa production coexisted harmoniously until the surge of illegal mining activities.
Mr. Fiifi Boafo commended Goldfields Ghana Limited for demonstrating that responsible mining practices can contribute to improving the ecosystem and supporting other environmental activities, including farming. He encouraged beneficiary farmers to diligently apply the received agro inputs on their farms to maximize yields.
The Gold Fields Ghana Farmers Foundation Support Programme distributed agro inputs to approximately 240 cocoa farmers, signifying a step towards fostering sustainable agricultural practices and safeguarding the future of cocoa farming in the country.