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Cocoa & Forests Initiative

Illegal mining devastated Dinkyiea's cocoa production by causing deforestation and land degradation. Efforts to reforest the land offer hope for restoring biodiversity.

Dinkyiea is a small community in the Adansi North District in the Ashanti region of Ghana. In the 1980s and 90s, the community used to be a principal cocoa producer, as the vegetation created a favourable microclimate that supported both cocoa and the cultivation of food crops.

This all stopped when the illegal miners arrived. Illegal mining activities, known as ‘Galamsey’, led to severe deforestation and land degradation. The vegetation was stripped away along with the topsoil, leading to crop loss and unfavourable micro-climatic conditions for cocoa cultivation. The loss of soil and the decline in crop yields over time have caused a massive exodus from the community.

Mohammed Hotor is a committee member of the Dinkyiea traditional council who also functions as a Purchasing Clerk for Cocoa Merchants Limited (CML) in the community. He says: “The once pristine landscapes have been destroyed by illegal mining. Galamsey activities have left deep scars on the earth, poisoning streams and stripping away the natural beauty.” As the detrimental effects became more evident, the community stood at a crossroads, and the Elders of Dinkyiea sought help to reforest the 131-acre site. 

When work began on the site, the entire area was a degraded land mass with huge mining pits filled with water, uneven hilly surfaces, no vegetation cover, and nothing growing. The surrounding water bodies had been muddied and contaminated with heavy metals from the mining activities. 

The reclamation began by levelling the land, removing tree stumps, filling the pits and creating drainage. Leguminous crop species such as Pueraria procumbens were planted to fix atmospheric nitrogen, and fertilizers were applied to replace the missing nutrients.

As the vegetation begins covering the land, Mohammed is more positive about a future where the scars of galamsey will be healed, saying: “I believe the land will thrive once more, biodiversity will be restored, and waters will run clear again.” He looks forward to the tree planting and says: “I am hopeful for a productive future in Dinkyiea.” 

The local authority in Dinkyiea organises frequent meetings with community members to highlight the impact of illegal mining practices and to encourage the community to help build more sustainable income opportunities.




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