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Ghana - 24 September, 2018
Illegal artisanal and small-scale mining has destroyed fertile agricultural lands, water bodies and forests in mining communities in Ghana. This has endangered food security in the affected communities while jeopardizing biodiversity.
In recognition of the fact that these activities deprive mining communities of their assets, including, fertile lands, non-timber forest products and clean water bodies, efforts are being made to design sustainable solutions to address these adverse effects by developing an integrated approach to land-use under the project “Securing Food and Ecosystem Services in Mining Plagued Regions of Ghana” being implemented by Tropenbos Ghana.
This is because while mining imperils the land, water, biodiversity, forests, the environment and undermines the eco-system services being rendered to mankind by these International Public Goods, it is also a source of revenue for rural communities and government alike, providing employment and other economic activities that fuel economic growth at the grassroots.
Mining is therefore a ‘necessary evil’ that has come to stay in these communities and the best option is to allow the co-existence of mining and other land-uses such as agricultural activities through appropriate planning and implementation of mining activities to minimize their adverse impact.
This will ensure that the economic benefits of mining are not in the long run outrun by its environmental and social consequences.
The four-year project, which is being funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) at the cost of sixteen million, two hundred thousand Norwegian Kroner (NOK 16,200,000) will run from July 2018 to June 2022.
It will among other things ensure a diversified and harmonized land-use in mining communities in Ghana, improve national policy for integrated land-use in mining areas, help local communities to rehabilitate mined-out lands and integrate farming, settlements, buffer zones and mining into agricultural landscapes.
Beneficiary communities of the project are resource rich communities in the Eastern, Western and Ashanti Regions of Ghana which also fall within Ghana’s High Forest Ecological Zone, and have the highest concentration of the nation’s forests, mineral resources including gold, diamond and bauxite in addition to water bodies, cocoa and oil palm farms.
The target group for the project include the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry, Environmental Protection Agency, Minerals Commission, Forestry Commission, Water Resources Commission and administrative district and municipal assemblies.
Others are legal small-scale miners and their associations, illegal small-scale miners and their financiers, farmers, traditional authorities, small and medium forest enterprises and civil society actors.