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Rice breeders at Biemso No.1 risk losing livelihoods to illegal mining

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Rice breeders at Biemso No.1 risk losing livelihoods to illegal mining

Rice farmers in Biemso Number one in the Ahafo Ano South’East district of the Ashanti region are resisting attempts by illegal miners to ravage their over 300-acre farmlands.

But their resolve to push out the illegal miners and save Ghana some local rice seeds appears bleak.

A mini-dam serving as an irrigation source to their farms is now polluted with heavy illegal mining slurry impacting adversely on their farm produce.

A huge illegal mining pit is dug in the middle of a 300-acre rice plantation catered by over eighty farmers at Biemso Number one.

#NoToGalamsey: Rice breeders at Biemso No.1 risk losing livelihoods to illegal mining

The illegal mining activity happens right behind the home of the member of parliament for Ahafo Ano South constituency.

Unprovoked by the devastations caused, the illegal miners continue to invade other parts of the rice farms.

Mahama Moro and his colleagues have been working on the farmland for over 22 years.

“You will be saddened when you see the menace caused on the other land. It has a solar powered irrigation system. But they illegal miners have also built a pavilion there. They told the labourers working there, rice cannot build a house but Galamsey can,” Mahama Moro told Luv FM’s Emmanuel Bright Quaicoe.

Residents of Biemso Number one are well-known for their involvement in both rice and maize farming, positioned as the second largest rice production hub in the Ashanti region.

The farmers grow a variety of local rice seeds, depending heavily on the Biem stream running through their plantations for farming activities.

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But a mini-dam constructed by the erstwhile Kufour-administration for irrigation has now turned milky brown sludge.

The highly polluted water has forced the farmers to shut down the irrigation canal distributing water across their farms.

Maize and paddy rice plants along the stream are dying out as a result.

“Millions will eat this rice. Those in government will consume some. How can six people cost the daily bread of millions?,” Ibrahim, a farmer, said.

The government’s efforts of making the country self-sufficient in rice producing is now threatened as production on the farmlands are depreciating.

The farmers usually harvested twice in a year.

#NoToGalamsey: Rice breeders at Biemso No.1 risk losing livelihoods to illegal mining

However, due to the activities of the illegal miners they could only harvest less than half of their usual yields, affecting their stocks of rice at the warehouse built in the middle of the plantation.

“I used to harvest about 120 bags of rice. But this year I was only able to harvest 18. I have debts to settle. I used to get some profits to cater for family,” Issakar, another farmer, recounted.

Many of the farmers are currently out of business.

But the few ones struggling for water source are resorting to domestic sources to irrigate and apply fertilizer on their farmers.

“It’s no longer raining. How can we get water. My farm is bushy now. I need water to add to mu weedicide for spray. Those who did it for me the last time, had to fetch water from home,” Maame Dufie angrily said.The farmers at Biemso Number one says they have their source of livelihood on the line as the faceless illegal miners continue to ravage their lands.

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Source: Myjoyonline.com

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