Assessing the Impact of Illegal Small-Scale Mining (Galamsey) on Cocoa Farming and Farmer Livelihood: A Case Study in the Amansie West District of Ghana

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Najat Osman
John Tennyson Afele
Eunice Nimo
David Ofoe Gorleku
Louisa Adomaa Ofori
Akwasi Adutwum Abunyewa


Cocoa and gold are significant contributors to the gross dormestic product of Ghana which makes both commodities key parts of the Ghanaian economy. Unfortunately, in Ghana, most cocoa-growing communities are the hub of illegal small-scale mining commonly known as galamsey. It is alleged that cocoa farmerssell their farmlands for galamsey; however, given that cocoa farming is the primary source of income for many households in rural Ghana. This research aimed at investigating the motivations for galamsey and how the practice impacts cocoa farming and the environment as well as farmer livelihood. The study was undertakenin Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region of Ghana where both cocoa farming and illegal mining operations coexist. The data for the study was collected using structured questionnaires. Cocoa farmers were purposively selected as respondents in two cocoa-growing communities. Data were obtained from 90 purposively sampled respondents through snowballing. Data collected were analyzed with Statistical Package for Social Scientist software. The results revealed that cocoa farmers face challenges due to galamsey such as; labour shortages, water pollution, competition for land amongst others. Also, cocoa farms, especially those downslope, get flooded whenever it rains as a result of uncovered galamsey pits near farms and cause black pod disease, early dropping of immature pods and stunted growth which ultimately reduce the output of cocoa farms. Farmers revealed that this affected their source of income adversely since the majority of them mainly depend on cocoa farming for their livelihood. They also reported a loss of green space and land degradation as some environmental hazards posed by galamsey. Information gathered from tenant farmers revealed that it is mostly landowners who give out their lands for galamsey. The major reasons that encourage galamsey were identified as higher short-term income, financial problems (40%) due to unemployment, and poor cocoa yield (26%). 

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Osman, N., Tennyson Afele, J., Nimo, E., Gorleku, D., Ofori, L., & Abunyewa, A. (2022). Assessing the Impact of Illegal Small-Scale Mining (Galamsey) on Cocoa Farming and Farmer Livelihood: A Case Study in the Amansie West District of Ghana. Pelita Perkebunan (a Coffee and Cocoa Research Journal), 38(1), 70-82.
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