Government says it has provided nearly one million oil palm seedlings to illegal miners who have been out of work since the nationwide clampdown on their activities.
This forms part of the alternative livelihood project to empower illegal miners economically.
Addressing the media after a courtesy call on the La Traditional Council in Accra, Board Chairman of the Minerals Commission, Sampson Kwaku Boafo, urged those still engaged in the illegal activity to quit and take advantage of the project
“We have provided almost one million seedlings so that they will plant it. They don’t pay anything; we will clear the land and plant it well with the extension officers and water them, give them fertilizer and fence the whole area. All this within two and a half to three years. And I’m glad to say that some of the ‘galamseyers’ have now moved. So I want to urge them on that there is an alternative”.
The project to create alternative livelihoods started in 2018 with over two million oil palm seedlings presented to 8,000 farmers and former illegal miners from the Richie Plantation at Dunkwa-on-Offinso in the Central Region to start a new life.
The government’s fight against illegal mining saw the establishment of a task force, known as Operation Vanguard, clamping down on many miners and seizing heavy equipment.
The clampdown led to a number of people losing their sources of livelihood, although the illegal activity is gradually returning after government lifted the ban on all forms of small scale mining to regulate the space.
There are also accusations against insiders in the government for allegedly failing to carry on truthfully with the fight, especially after a member of government’s committee supervising the clampdown was accused of bribery in an under-cover investigation.
There’s also currently a report about the disappearance of some of the excavators seized from illegal miners during the clampdown, attracting harsh criticisms against the government’s handling of the campaign.