The Co-Principal Investigator on the University of York-UG’s Galamsey Research Team has said that illegal mining, also known as galamsey, is having adverse effects on farming in many communities across the country.
Speaking on Newsfile on JoyNews on Saturday, Prof Gladys Nyarko Ansah revealed that some farmers in Atiwa West in the Eastern Region use sachet water to mix pesticides and other agrochemicals to spray their farm.
She explained that this is because the water bodies in the area are no longer safe for consumption.
“The people are not happy with the situation…it is very sad. Farmers have to buy pure water to go and mix chemicals, weedicides, agro chemicals and things to spray their farms in Atiwa West,” Prof Ansah noted.
She also disclosed that in some cases, farmers are threatened to sell their lands to illegal miners to continue their activities.
Prof Ansah said that “people’s cocoa farms are left hanging because galamseyers have dug around all the farm and they can’t even have access to the farm.”
“They tell you that when the galamseyers come and tell you ‘sell your land to us to mine’ and you refuse, when you sleep and wake up, they have dug around your farm and then you have no option but to sell that farm to them very cheaply,” she said.
She stated that as a result, farming then becomes unattractive to many people.
Prof Ansah added that “in a country where we have a large number of young people who are unemployed and they can’t even see farming as an alternative, they (could) just jump onto the galamsey bandwagon.”
She explained that when the youth are all involved, it becomes difficult to control illegal mining activities, especially in areas where it is happening most.
Prof Ansah was speaking on Newsfile on the topic, “how to win the fight against illegal mining”. This comes after news broke about the re-arrest of the ‘galamsey’ kingpin En Huang, popularly known as Aisha Huang.
She was arrested in her residence at Kumasi for her alleged involvement in the sale and purchase of minerals without a license.
Following her arrest, the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, announced he was set to prosecute the notorious ‘galamsey’ poster girl, Aisha Huang for her past and recent crimes.
He requested details of evidence compiled by investigators in 2018 and what has been compiled on alleged recent offences.
“The Attorney General per his request, assures that he will initiate prosecution against Miss Huang, in respect of her current alleged offences as well as those of 2017 before her deportation from Ghana in 2018,” the Justice Ministry added in a social media post.
However, the re-arrest and return to the country shocked many Ghanaians and brought back the discourse on the country’s fight against ‘galamsey’.
Meanwhile, Prof Ansah believes that the people in the mining communities must be engaged in the fight against illegal mining.
She said that many of them are unhappy about the situation and would aid the government if they are genuinely involved in the fight.
“The excavators, these are not items that you can smuggle on the quiet into the forest, people will see, people in the town. There are hunters and farmers in the villages and they see it. When they see it, what do they do? If we really want to win the fight, engage the people and let the engagement be genuine,” Prof Ansah added.