The Western North Regional Director of Agriculture, Henry Fordjour has bemoaned poor seed quality and illegal mining as the cause and inability of the region to continue producing food for residents and the country at large.

According to him, even though the national conversation on illegal mining also known as galamsey seems to be diminishing, it is impeding the success of farmers in the Western North region.

He cited an example of a farmer who returned to his farm only to find excavators and tractors destroying his large farm.

He added, apart from activities of illegal miners, poor seed quality has ruined the success of crops such as rice and maize in the region.

Mr Fordjour made this known when the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto embarked on a working visit to the Western North Regional capital, Sefwi Wiawso to assess the progress and challenges of stakeholders in the sector.

He therefore called on authorities to help curb this menace in the region.

Responding to the challenges of the farmers, the sector Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto expressed shock at the situation, indicating that, it is being addressed, especially illegal mining. He assured the farmers certified quality seeds.

GAF causes stir over galamsey success

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in September caused a stir when it claimed success in the fight against illegal mining in the country.

According to the statement by the Ghana army, with the support by the navy and air force, it has, so far, cleared a total of 230 platforms and 365 changfans in illegal mining sites covering a total of 267 kilometres along and on the Pra and Offin rivers and their tributaries, as part of their activities to flush out illegal small-scale miners from some major river bodies and forest reserves in the Ashanti, Eastern, Western and Western North regions.

“Additionally, we wish to send a clear warning to those who have shifted their activities to other parts of the country where the footprints of Operation Halt is yet to touch that their days are numbered”, the statement added.

Premature celebration

In response to the statement by GAF, the Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group, formerly Galamsey Action Group described the celebration by GAF as premature.

“We wish to reiterate, however, that any celebration or congratulations at this stage would be rather premature. This is because those rivers continue to see ongoing devastation. No! Rivers Ankobra, Birim, Offin, Tano, Pra and others have in no way been spared the ongoing devastation. In fact, it continues at various points along those rivers”, Elizabeth Allua Vaah of the Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group said this in a statement copied to ghenvironment.org.

“Once again, while we appreciate the good work done by the men and women of the GAF, we are of the view that only a sustained, smart monitoring of our rivers, and genuine and decisive action by the Government, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Interior, the regional and district security councils and our traditional councils would result in the success that we all seek. Until then, any self-congratulatory messages by any groups would be deceptive at best”, the statement added.

Story by Samuel Gyasi