Ellembelle farmers angry; demonstrates against illegal activities on cocoa farms


By Juliet Aguiar DUGBARTEY, Ellembelle

Concerned cocoa farmers in the Ellembelle district of Western Region have demonstrated against illegal mining activities at cocoa farms and river-bodies in the area.

According to the group, their livelihood and dependents rely on the cocoa farms for survival – but currently all is not well.

Grace Amihere, a cocoa farmer, told the media: “They are forcibly taking all our cocoa farms. These illegal miners tried to pay off my brother and I so they can take our farmland; we did not accept the token sum and they have destroyed half of it. How are we going to feed our families,” she asked?

A petition presented by Benjamin Azachie, leader of Concerned Cocoa Farmers of Ellembelle, to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ellembelle, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah said: “We, the concerned cocoa farmers of Ellembelle district, specifically from Aiyinase and its environs, urgently seek your intervention regarding the alarming illegal mining activities perpetrated by Chinese miners in our community”.

He further said: “Our livelihoods are intricately tied to cocoa farming, a cherished trade passed down through generations. However, the recent surge in illegal mining activities has not only jeopardised our source of income but also threatened our heritage, environment and future”.

He alleged that “Chinese miners and their Ghanaian collaborators have encroached upon our cocoa farms without consent, ravaging fertile land and contaminating our precious river-bodies”.

Also, he said the environmental degradation caused by these activities is catastrophic – resulting in the loss of arable land and pollution of vital water sources essential for farming practices.

“Moreover, when our farms are seized, the miners arbitrarily set compensation prices without engaging in any form of negotiation; often vastly undervaluing our properties. The lack of formal agreements or fair discussions leaves us with no recourse but to accept inadequate compensation. Those who dare to resist or voice their opposition to these illegal activities are met with threats and physical violence, instilling a climate of fear that stifles our ability to defend our rights and safeguard our land,” he stated in the petition.

Therefore, they implored the MP to champion this cause in parliament to draw national attention to the cocoa farmers’ plight in Ellembelle district.

“We urge you to advocate for stringent enforcement of laws against illegal mining and the imposition of harsher penalties on those perpetrating these unlawful acts. It is imperative that immediate action be taken to stop the illegal mining activities and expel Chinese galamsey operators from our land,” he pointed out in the petition.

“Their actions have inflicted significant harm, and their continued presence poses a grave threat to the livelihoods and future of our community.

“We place our trust in your capacity to effectively represent our concerns and advocate for the necessary measures to safeguard our livelihoods, environment and rights. Your intervention has the power to make a profound impact in preserving the future of cocoa farming in our district,” the petition told the MP.

Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, the MP for Ellembelle who received the petition, assured them that their concerns will be forwarded to appropriate authorities for necessary actions.

He noted that these illegal activities resonate across the country, and all the cocoa farms in Ellembelle are completely gone.

“They are helpless, because the authorities in charge don’t show concern for their plight because they have been compromised. The cocoa sector is in shambles, come to Ellembelle and see; everything is gone,” he concluded.

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