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General News of Monday, 24 April 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Ghana’s cocoa risk international boycott over galamsey – Minister

The Western Regional Minister, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, has said that Ghana’s premium cocoa risks being banned on the international market, due to the huge “heavy metals” unleashed into the soil in cocoa growing areas by illegal miners.

He said if the situation is not checked, the consequences of a ban will be far reaching on Ghana.

Speaking at a press engagement at the Regional Coordinating Council in Sekondi on Friday, Dr. Afriyie, who is a renowned cocoa farmer with several years of experience, explained that “Galamsey has the potential of destroying Ghana’s cocoa.

“Indeed, if we do not take care, if they [‘galamseyers’] left lose some of these heavy metals into the environment and it gets absorbed, Ghana faces the potential of its cocoa being boycotted on the international market. The mercury that the ‘gala’ people use releases heavy metals like arsenic and other things. This must be addressed,” he added.

Illegal miners over the past few years, have invaded the three leading cocoa growing districts in the Western Region.

The Wassa Amenfi East, West and Central districts, are now the leading cocoa growing districts in the country.

However, it is in these districts that illegal mining activity have heightened.

Mercury use in illegal small scale mining in Ghana continues to be the most commonly used methods in extracting gold.

Even though Ghana has recently ratified a Minamata Convention which seeks to reduce the use of mercury use in alluvial small scale mining and replace it with other proven methods, mercury use is yet to see reduction to acceptable levels.