Cocoa farmers have been asked to join the fight by the government to stop the alarming environmental degradation caused through the activities of illegal miners.
Mr. Henry Asamoah, Asante-Bekwai District Quality Control Officer of the Cocobod, said what was happening could have dire consequences for everybody and therefore they could not become indifferent.
He was speaking at a public education forum organized by the Quality Control Division (QCD) at Huu, a predominantly cocoa farming community near Adansi-Asokwa.
It had been organized by the QCD to help the people to appreciate the threat to the nation’s cocoa industry by illegal mining and to rally them to support the effort to tackle it.
He expressed deep worry about the situation, where cocoa farms had been sold and cut down for mining.
He identified Bogyawe, Huu, Jacobu, Asikasu, Abosamso, Afoako and Bepotenten among communities where this had been more pronounced.
Mr. Asamoah cautioned that the development, if allowed unchecked, could substantially affect cocoa production in the area.
He indicated that drastic reduction in crop production had already been noticed and the outlook was grim.
He said the cocoa sector, which had been the mainstay of the economy, should be protected.
He called for the government to refuse to be intimidated and to go to every length to prevent those without mining licenses from operating.
Mr. Peter Offin, the Bekwai chief farmer, appealed for the strengthening of the mass cocoa spraying exercise.