Assessing the impacts of illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) on cocoa farming and rural livelihood: The case of Amenfi West District of Ghana

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For years, Ghana has been confronted with illegal small-scale mining commonly known as galamsey. It is alleged that cocoa farmers are relinquishing their farmlands for galamsey, however, as many people in the cocoa farming communities depend on cocoa farming as their primary source of income, it raises questions as to why farmers would want to abandon their farms for galamsey. As a result, this thesis is aimed at investigating the motivations for galamsey and how the practice impacts cocoa farming as well as the living conditions of people in the mining communities. The study was undertaken in Amenfi West District in the Western Region of Ghana where both cocoa farming and illegal mining operations coexist. The data for the study was collected from cocoa farmers in the mining communities using qualitative research techniques such as interviews and questionnaires. The results revealed that cocoa farmers face challenges because of galamsey such as; labor shortages, water pollution and bites from harmful insects bred from the abandoned mining sites. Also, galamsey operations reduce land quality and cause black pod disease which ultimately reduce the output of cocoa farms close to the mining sites. On the positive side, galamsey provides employment and improves transportation network in the mining communities. The major reasons that encourage galamsey were identified as higher short-term income, availability of idle lands, poor cocoa yield, and low price of cocoa. Recommendations from the study include; supporting farmers to maintain healthy cocoa farms, land reclamation, and public education, but also facilitating the process to ease acquisition of mining license by the galamsey operators.
Thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, April 2018
Ghana, Amenfi West District, cocoa farming, galamsey, small-scale mining, livelihoods, labour