Illegal Mining a Nuclear Disaster for Agriculture in Ghana

The decline of agriculture production in Ghana did not require a tea leaf reading, since 1990 to this day, the Ghanaian economy has transformed from an agrarian economy to a service based economy. The cultural appeal of acquiring a white collar job has been the fundamental tectonic shift that marked the change in fortunes of agricultural production in Ghana.

Galamsey Operators destroying our natural resources-Ghana. Photo Credit: CitiFM

To worsen issues, the abysmal performing agricultural sector is currently under siege from illegal mining locally called ‘galamsey’, these activities although not new, has been escalated by the inflow of Chinese fortune seekers who collaborate with local galamsey agents to mine illegally in farm lands and water bodies. Local miners who used puns and pickaxes to mine, have now been supplied with excavators, mechanical alluvial mining rafts called ‘’shangfangs’ and heavy trucks.

The mechanization and use of ‘’ shangfangs’’ in the waterbodies surrounding farming communities, is what has escalated the rate of land and water degradation from 25% of arable land to 70% in a space of less than 20 years. Poor cocoa farmers sell their mineral rich farmlands to these miners for a one time pay off. Water bodies that are relied upon for drinking and irrigation of farmlands have been polluted beyond recognition.

Everything needed to illustrate a disaster zone is present in this ‘’galamsey’’ scourge; land degradation, water pollution, destruction of farmland, chemical pollution of arable land and the loss of lives of these young miners. Everything about this situation is unacceptable and an undisguised threat to the nation’s water supply and food production.

This article was written by Christian Ndabi, the Campaign Coordinator of Back-To-Agric Initiative. Christian can be reached on cell: 0244097059 and via email:


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