The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister Amidu Issahaku Chinnia has said that deforestation, illegal mining and bush burning if left unchecked will continue to rob the region of its vast arable land.
In turn, crop and animal production in the region would suffer as soil fertility and rainfall patterns are directly linked to deforestation, illegal mining and bush burning.
Mr. Chinnia said it was unfortunate the illegals miners and those engaged in bush burning and deforestation refuse to see the long term negative effects of their activities on the region.
The Deputy Minister was unhappy that people in the Upper West Region are disinterested in agriculture despite the huge upsides and would rather engage in illegal mining which have only short term benefits saying “if you monitor the number of trucks that carry animals from our neighboring Burkina Faso into Ghana on weekly basis and transport to Techiman, Kumasi and Accra for sale, you would realize that we in [the] Upper west [Region] are not taking advantage of the real opportunities that are available to us.”
He added that it was “time to re-orientate the mindsets of our people and let them know that animal farming is critical and can reduce unemployment and increase the economic fortunes of our people.”
Mr. Chinnia challenged the youth to chart a successful business enterprise through animal and crop production rather than engaging in illegal activities.
Touching on the some effects of illegal mining, Mr. Chinnia lamented about the increasing cost of production of water for the Wa Municipality and its surrounding communities due to illegal mining along the Black Volta.
He explained that “most of our water bodies have been polluted and this is affecting the supply of quality water to our citizens. The Ghana Water Company Limited GWCL spends far more money in the treatment of water due to pollution by illegal miners.”
Citing the Jambussie Water Processing Plant in the Wa West District as an example, the Minister mentioned that cost of production of clean and safe drinking water had increased. The increased cost would then be passed unto to the already poor residents.
Mr. Chinnia encouraged small scale miners in the region to take advantage of policies government had put in place to train miners in modern ways of safe mining.
Story by Mark Smith