By Desmond Cudjoe
The Director of Special Services of the COWBOY, Mr Charles Amenyaglo has encouraged cocoa farmers to help sustain the cocoa industry by avoiding the trappings of illegal miners into releasing their farmlands for illegal mining activities.
This is in view of the threats illegal mining poses to the country’s cocoa industry. “Illegal mining that we refer to as galamsay has far-reaching consequences on the country’s cocoa industry, saying besides the reduction in yield, it has serious international ramifications”.
Mr Amenyaglo was addressing farmers at Dormeabra near Asankragwa in the Amendi West Municipality in the Western Region a handing over ceremony of a primary school block to the Dormeabra Community.
The fully furnished six-unit classroom which has a library and a computer laboratory, was funded by Federated Commodities, FEDCO, a cocoa Licensed Buying Company with support from their partners, STORK and WALTER MATTER. The partners also collaborated with COCOBOD Foundation to provide an AstroTurf to the school for recreational activities. This was in appreciation to the cocoa farmers for keeping faith the company by selling their produce to the company. It was also to encourage the farmers to send they’re to school.
Mr. Amenyaglo said farmers have benefited greatly from COCOBOD, its agencies and partners through various projects by way of corporate social responsibility through the provision of school, health and social infrastructure.
“All these benefits you enjoy after selling your cocoa would be a thing of the past if you give your lands yo illegal miners who will in turn destroy the land, pollute water bodies and expose you to health risks”, he said.
For her part, the Managing Director of FEDCO, Mrs Mariam Adamu-Zibo said through their partners, GH¢32 million has been invested in various projects and in premiums paid to farmers in their operational areas.
According to her, “we we were able to do all these because you the farmers kept your side of the bargain by trading with and we have also delivered and will continue to impact your communities in a positive manner”. She said beside the three school blocks provided by FEDCO and partners in the Wassa Amendi West Municipality, they have also provided a 10-seater toilet facility and mechanized borehole at Supanso, a mechanized borehole at Odumasi and two hand pump boreholes at Dormeabra.
On galamsay, she pointed out that, it is not only to a threat to the cocoa sector but an existential threat to all. “Let’s look at the long-term sustainable benefits from cocoa instead of the short-term gratification from the money illegal miners will give you to destroy your farms”, she advised. Mrs Adamu-Zibo also urged the community to work the school authorities to maintain the school in order to prolong its life span.
The Chief of Dormeabra, Nana Kweku Appiah was grateful to FEDCO for the school, saying, “you ( FEDCO) have given us hope and we will ensure that, our children including those unborn are educated to the highest for them to come and help us”.
He further asked for an ISS block so kids in the Community will not commute to nearby towns to attend school.
The Sourcing Manager at STORK, Marcus Bonemeier said contributing to the education of children in deprived Communities is their way of showing appreciation to their local partners. Cocoa Trader of WALTER MATTER, Aimon Bourqui was appreciative of the partnership as it has yielded positive benefits to all, adding that, there is room for more to be done and encouraged farmers to increase their yield, sell to them so they also adjust upwards their social investments.