27
Sat, May
7 New Articles

Report : Newmont’s take-over of farmlands threaten food security

General News

Residents of nine communities in the Asutifi North of the Brong Ahafo Region, especially women, are worried that they no more have enough farmlands to engage in their farming activities as a result of the take-over of their lands by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited.

Residents of nine communities in the Asutifi North of the Brong Ahafo Region, especially women, are worried that they no more have enough farmlands to engage in their farming activities as a result of the take-over of their lands by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited.

The communities are Kenyase No.1, Kenyase No.2, Ntotroso, Tutuka, Kwusu, Yawusukrom, Manu Shed, Amakona and Yaroguruma.

The concerns were sampled as part of a research work carried out by Emmanuel Yamoah Tenkorang of the Institute for Development Studies of the University of Cape Coast and published in a report titled “Assessing the social and economic effects of mining on women affected by Newmont Ghana Gold’s operations.”

The research work sampled the views of three main categories of respondents for the study and they included female respondents, focus group discussants and key informants, who were purposively and conveniently selected from institutions such as the Asutifi North District Assembly, the District Health Management Team, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana Education Service, the Police and Newmont Ghana Gold Limited.

The report, which was launched at Kenyase early this year, suggests that the non-availability of enough lands for farming activities is a serious threat to food security in the area.

“Most farmers have been rendered landless, the few who are into farming are also concentrating on the cultivation of cash crops”, a female farmer is quoted to have said in the report.

According to the report, “…the reallocation of farmlands as mining the concession had led to decreased production of food crops. There is therefore less food for the relatively large population. This contributed to a local level inflation in the price of food.”

Cassava, the most consumed crop in the district, has recorded a net deficit it its production for some time due the mining activities.

“In the final analyses, from Asutifi Assembly (2010) alluding to the fact that in the district most food crop production is for consumption, the net deficit per capita of cassava was also discussed. The Department of Agriculture in the district has records on food deficits beginning from 2010”, the report says.

It further states: “there were more pronounced fluctuations in per capita deficit of cassava in the district between 2010 and 2015.  There appears a slight improvement in food surplus in the district between 2013 and 2014, implying there is a general decreasing deficit of cassava supply in the district.”

On the production of yams, the report said “the periods around 2005, 2006 and 2007 when the surface mining activities gathered momentum, the estimated area under cultivation per capita increased but gross production per capita of the crop decreased.”

Plantain, the third most important food crop cultivated mainly for consumption, according to the report, has recorded “a general stagnation in the area under cultivation per capita of plantain.”

“However, there has been a general reduction starting from 2012 to 2015. Regarding gross production per capita, though there is a general improvement across the years considered, there was a pronounced drop in 2007 and also, from 2012, as with the area under cultivation per capita, there has been consistent drop in the production levels per capita,” the report explains.

The report further indicts Newmont Ghana Gold Limited for contributing to the rise in the incidence of some diseases in the Asutifi North district.

“Of the top ten diseases in the district, four are adjudged to be related to mining. These are Malaria, Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI), Gastroenteritis (Typhoid) and Diarrhoea”, the report says.

Officials of Newmont, on the other hand, say they are “currently studying the accuracy of the reports and will provide further information” at the appropriate time.

The Senior Director for Sustainability and External Relations, Paul Sowley, says “our review will include following up with the reports’ authors to better understand their data collection, analysis and assessment methods, which seem to lack the scientific rigour to support their conclusions.”