The 2020 National Best Farmer 1st Runner-up, Nana Kofi Drobo IV has urged the government to revise its anti-illegal mining strategy to effectively tame the menace, indicating that, the country needs tighter regulations and uncompromising enforcement to suppress the threat.
According to him, Illegal mining remains a bane of society, causing multidimensional development problems. He said even though successive governments have over the years made some efforts to arrest the situation, illegal mining continues to persist across the country.
In 2017, the current government established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining; the mandate of the committee was to ensure coherence in the activities of agencies in the fight against the menace.
The government also commissioned an anti-galamsey task force ‘Operation Vanguard’ made up of personnel from the security agencies to clamp down on illegal miners. But that notwithstanding, galamsey is still prevalent, and many have attributed the situation to weak enforcement of the laws.
Nana Drobo IV who is also the chief priest of popular Kwaku Firi Shrine at Nwoase near Wenchi in the Bono Region, also took a swipe at chiefs and individuals who give out farmlands to illegal miners, despite the irreparable destruction the menace continuous to cause agriculture and the environment in general.
He said chiefs and land owners must be interested in offering lands to the youth for sustainable and productive ventures like farming to boost the country’s agricultural output rather than leasing out farmlands for illegal mining also known as galamsey.
“As traditional leaders and custodians of lands, you must think about the supreme interest of your people and the country. Nation building is a shared responsibility; you don’t give your lands to galamseyers for destruction and turn around to blame the government as well as demand your share of the national cake,” he said.
In an interview with the B&FT, 2020 National Best Farmer 1st Runner-up also advised the youth to embrace agriculture to make ends meet instead of seeking non-existing wealth from spiritualists, saying “it better, worthy and sustainable to farm to make a living rather than seeking blood money or engage in ‘sakawa’ which in effect will not last for long.”
He therefore urged the youth to take advantage of government’s flagships like ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ (PFJ) and ‘Planting for Export and Rural Development’ (PERD) to make entry and impact the agricultural sector.
Nana Kofi Drobo IV, a spiritualist is an industrious farmer. Apart from the economic benefits, farming has earned him many awards including overall Best Farmer in the Wenchi Municipality in 2016 and the recent recognition at the 36th National Farmers’ Day celebration at Techiman-2020 National Best Farmer 1st Runner-up. His farms cover about 2,000 acres of cashew, livestock, poultry, maize, yam, cassava, fish ponds, snails and grasscutters among others. There are 100 workers at the farms.