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Kwaku Asare of Denkyira Asikuma, Ghana, visits the former cocoa farm he sold to galamsey gold miners. He's among the growing number of cocoa farmers seeing their production replaced with mining, which is often only temporary but leaves permanent scars

Kwaku Asare grabbed his machete and trekked through the bush to his cocoa farm—through winding pathways and hills, past ominous pits of muddy water, and underneath the low-hanging canopy of dried cocoa leaves. But the trees were bare. A few rotting cocoa pods littered the ground, while other stunted pods refused to ripen on the branches.

“When the Chinese came, they told me that my plants were not yielding anymore because there was so much gold under the soil,” Asare said. After a few years of low production, he sold his 14 acres to a group of small-scale gold miners, also called galamsey miners, with a Chinese sponsor. The money is gone now and Asare’s land is poisoned.

Kwaku Asare’s story is not uncommon in Denkyira Asikuma, a small farming village nestled amongst cocoa plantations outside of Dunkwa in Ghana’s Central region. At least 30 cocoa farmers in the village have sold their land to miners who quickly excavated, pumped in water and chemicals, and abandoned their pits when the work was done or when soldiers chased them away.

The Ministry of Finance has launched the Tax Revenue for Economic Enhancement (TREE) project in Cape Coast.

The revenue collection-led strategy, which places priority on improving the revenue collection and enforcement processes, is expected to improve the revenue of the various Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, charged the District Assemblies to toughen their revenue collection base to feed into the ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ agenda.

A total of five hundred and seventy (570) dams are to be constructed in the three northern regions this year as part of the NPP Government’s manifesto pledge to facilitate community-owned and managed small-scale irrigation facilities across the country, popularly known as “One Village One Dam.”

Feasibility studies and consultative fora have been take place, with work on the first of these dams set to begin in a couple of weeks, ahead of the rainy season.