Mining activities, both legal and illegal, are increasingly threatening agriculture production in the country, Dr. Mamaa Entsua-Mensah, Deputy Director General of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has warned.
She said most farm lands, including that of cocoa, plantain and cassava, as well as water-bodies that serve as sources of water for people, are all being taken over by miners who were operating carelessly.
Dr. Entsua-Mensah was speaking at the opening of a two-day policy dialogue on ‘Assessment of Legal and Policy Frameworks for Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change on Agricultural Production in Ghana’ in Accra.
She said most of the time, women and smallholder farmers are the ones who suffer most from the illegal activities, which are also having a toll on the environment.
She urged the authorities to enforce the environmental laws to deter perpetrators from engaging in such illegal mining.
“We have to rather support interventions that ensure climate-smart agriculture by adopting prudent measures that will promote food security in Ghana,” Dr. Entsua-Mensah noted.
The policy dialogue, which is being organised by members of the Environment and Climate Change Action Node, is being coordinated by CSIR with sponsorship from Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Dr. Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura, Policy Officer, Land and Environment, AGRA, said Ghana is one of the 16 countries selected in Africa where AGRA is working together with stakeholders and governments to ensure smallholder farmers get the right assistance and information to improve their yields.
“It is important to collaborate and look at issues affecting the country on climate change and adopt measures to mitigate them,” Dr. Namubiru-Mwaura said.
Dr. Nelson Obirih-Opareh, Node Coordinator, said the overall goal of the project is to improve food security and reduce income volatility for smallholder farmers by enhancing their adaptation to climate change and variability in the basket regions of Ghana.
He said through the Nodes activities, lots of surveys and policy papers on agricultural productivity — including a gendered analysis of the problem, nine policy briefs covering activities that had been accomplished, one draft position paper, a draft document for agricultural extension guidelines — had been developed.