Those who must tackle galamsey are busy courting ‘galamsey votes’ with promise of capitulation – Prempeh

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The Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) Professor H Kwasi Prempeh has observed that the people who are supposed to lead the way out of the illegal small-scale mining (Galamsey) menace are rather seeking the votes of the illegal miners.

He says they are seeking the votes of the galamseyers with promises of capitulation.

His comment come after concerned Cocoa Farmers in the Ellembelle District on Saturday, June 1, stormed an illegal mining site at Sendu to express their frustration and opposition to the destruction of their cocoa farms and water bodies.

The Leader of the Ellembelle Concerned Cocoa Farmers, Benjamin Azachie said after presenting their petition to the Ellembelle Member of Parliament, appealed to him to help stop the forced takeover of cocoa farms by “galamseyers” in the area which is destroying their investment and water bodies.

Commenting on this development on his Facebook page, Prof Prempeh said “Good for them. Those who must show the way out of galamsey are busy courting the galamsey vote with promises of capitulation. A total failure of leadership!”

The Western North Regional Chairman for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Michael Aidoo has raised concerns over the alarming rate at which cocoa farmers are selling their farms to illegal miners, known locally as ‘galamseyers’.

According to Aidoo, the farmers’ dwindling interest in cocoa farming is a direct result of government neglect and the deteriorating state of the cocoa sector.

“This hasn’t affected COCOBOD as much as it has devastated our elderly farmers in the villages. They are now selling their farms to galamseyers because they no longer find farming profitable,” he stated.

In an interview with the host of Yen Nsempa, Nana Yaa Brefo and co-hosted by Isaac Ekow JB, on June 5, Aidoo highlighted that under the tenure of former President John Dramani Mahama, Ghana’s cocoa production reached approximately 900,000 tonnes annually.

However, this figure has plummeted to around 500,000 tonnes under the current administration.

“During John Dramani Mahama’s time, we used to produce 900,000 tonnes of cocoa. Today, we struggle to even get 500,000 tonnes,” Aidoo remarked. He attributed this decline to the current government’s failure to provide essential support to cocoa farmers.

“Mahama used to give free fertilizers to farmers and arranged for their farms to be sprayed at no cost. When the cocoa beans started to rot, his government established nurseries and provided experts to assist the farmers. But under the NPP and Akufo-Addo, these supports have ceased,” he added.

Aidoo criticized the government for failing to address the needs of the farmers, which has had a severe impact on their livelihoods adding that the delay in increasing cocoa prices, compounded the farmers’ struggles.

“The cocoa prices were not increased for four years, causing immense hardship for the farmers. It’s only this year, 2024, that they have decided to raise the prices, but by then, many farmers had already given up after enduring so much loss,” Aidoo explained.

He expressed a widespread sentiment among farmers who are nostalgic for the days of Mahama’s presidency. “Now, if you engage with the farmers, they are all crying for John Mahama,” he concluded.

 

WE are still working d we will comtonue to work until the ultimate is achieved.