150 hectares of rehabilitated cocoa farms under siege by a mining company

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150 hectares of rehabilitated cocoa farms under siege by a mining company

Over 150 hectares (375 acres) of rehabilitated cocoa farms in the Atwima Nwabiagya South Municipality have been seized by a foreign mining company, MIGOP Mining Limited, for its mining activities. The affected farms, located in Brahabebome, Apuoyem, Brosanko, Nkontomire, and Ouagadougou, were part of the Cocoa Rehabilitation Programme (2021-2023) initiated by the government through .

Farmers in the area have expressed outrage as the mining company, claiming to have acquired a license from the Minerals Commission for prospecting, has begun destroying vast portions of the rehabilitated farms despite resistance from the farmers. The company has erected barriers in the area, denying farmers access to their own lands, and deployed excavators and earthmoving equipment to clear the vegetation for mining activities.

The affected communities, which were struggling with cocoa production due to the Swollen Shoot Disease outbreak, had seen a resurgence in their livelihoods following the government's investments in rehabilitating the farms. However, hopes were dashed when the land was given out as concessions for mining exploration.

Despite rejecting the company's compensation offer of GHC 10,000.00 per acre, the farmers continue to face intimidation from the company's security personnel, armed in what is typically a harmless environment. Farmers have called on to swiftly intervene to protect their investments and livelihoods.

In response to distress calls, a team from COCOBOD, led by Professor Michael Kwarteng, Head of the Anti- Unit, visited the area to assess the situation. Prof. Kwarteng expressed disgust at the level of destruction of cocoa trees by the mining company and vowed to take necessary steps to protect the farms under the Economic Plant Protection Act.

However, Mr. Richard Gyasi, Community Relations Officer of MIGOP Mining Limited, rejected the farmers' allegations, claiming the company was only prospecting for gold and had adequately compensated affected farmers.

The standoff between the mining company and cocoa farmers underscores the tension between agricultural and mining activities in Ghana and highlights the need for effective regulation and protection of farmlands from encroachment by mining activities.

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