Parliament expresses concern over outbreak of CSM

By: Benjamin Mensah, GNA

 

Accra, April 6, GNA – Parliament on Thursday underlined urgent and pragmatic measures for effective check on Cerebral Spinal Meningitis (CSM) that has hit parts of the country.

A number of people are reported dead from the disease, which often strikes more in the Northern Belt, usually when the weather is very warm.

Two students were reported to have died in Bawku in the Upper East Region, while 11 have been admitted to hospital.

The two deceased were second-year science students of the Bawku Senior High School, and the Bawku Senior High Technical School.

In Kumasi, the autopsy reports have shown the cause of the ‘mysterious’ deaths of four students at the Kumasi Academy Senior High School at Asokore Mampong in the Ashanti Region has been found to be Meningitis.

Students of the school demonstrated against the school authorities demanding to go home following the deaths and almost clashed with police officers maintaining law order.

It is estimated that 62 people have died in parts of northern Ghana when the disease, that rages from November to April resurfaced.

Dr Mark Kurt Naawane, Member of Parliament (MP) for Nabdam, in a statement on the floor of the House, cited fever, headache and malaria as some of the symptoms.

He said the disease was caused by viral, fungal or bacterial infections.

He cautioned the public not to gather at densely populated areas as that could generate heat, which attracted the disease.

In a contribution, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, MP for Ledzokuku, a physician, noted that the infectious disease was found in Ghana and other parts of Africa, but early diagnosis was needed to put the illness in check.

He said CSM could be cured, but the late arrival of cases at the health institutions had been the cause death.

He said: ‘Doctors are there to cure diseases and not to raise the dead.’

Dr Boye said there was the need to make more vaccines available and make them more available to prevent the disease.

Other contributions recognised the need to enhance education on the disease in order to prevent it.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Scientist urges government to institute wastewater management law

By:Kodjo Adams, GNA
Accra, April 6, GNA – Mr Samuel Obiri, Senior Scientist, Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research-Water Research Institute has urged government to institute a framework to ensure effective use of wastewater in the country.

He said wastewater needed to be recognised in the water cycle since it was the greatest untapped opportunities to enhance sustainable development.

Mr Obiri said this in Accra in an interview with members of the Water and Sanitation Network of Journalist as part of activities to mark this year’s national celebration of World Water Day on the theme ‘Water and Wastewater’.

He said the country needed a policy direction to psyche the minds of Ghanaians to understand the importance of treating wastewater for its reuse since other countries like Singapore and Canada had done same.

Mr Obiri enumerated issues such as ineffective policies, weak regulations and laws, corruption and lack of appropriate infrastructure and lack of investment in human capacity building as factors that hindered the effectiveness of wastewater management.

He noted that it was imperative for government to allocate enough money to the sector and the willingness for the citizenry to pay taxes to invest in infrastructure for the water sector development.

Mr Obiri urged government to develop innovative ways of streamlining the water industry from activities of pollution such as illegal mining that affected the country’s water bodies.

This he explained could be possible when there was effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism in place to ensure transparency and accountability in the system.

He said the country need to consider wastewater as a resource because of a global climate change which caused disruptions in the world’s natural hydrological cycles, thereby having effects on water quality and supply.

Mr Obiri said increased acceptance and reliance on reclaimed water would play a key role in mitigating the impacts of global climate change.

‘Wastewater can act as a source of drinking water if treated well even though there were some health risk from associated pathogens and other contaminants from chemicals’, he added

According to UN Water, the waste water from the homes, cities and industries, which could be reused was lost.

Some of the most important measures to practise water conservation in aroundd areas include re-use of effluent from industries, artificial aquifer recharge and the utilisation of sand storage dams to reduce evaporation.

 

Source: modernghana.com

I Was Almost Arrested For Stopping Illegal Chinese Miners – MP

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Manso Nkwanta, Joseph Albert Quarm has revealed that he was almost arrested for trying to stop some Chinese who were into illegal mining activities.

According to him, if anybody dares to go to any illegal Chinese mining site to stop their activities they will be arrested or worse because they are well guarded by soldiers and even if u report them to the authorities, nothing will be done about it.

Narrating his ordeal to Akwasi Boateng, host of ‘Maakye’ on Hot93.9 FM, Mr. Quarm stated that in his quest to stop these illegal Chinese miners, he was summoned to the police headquarters and as a result of this, these illegal miners feel they have the right to operate because no body will do anything to stop them.

He revealed that some large scale mining companies whom he refer to as “unpatriotic Ghanaians” are partly to blame for the rampant illegal mining activities popularly known as ‘galamsey’ in the country.

He said ” when these unpatriotic Ghanaians acquire their mining permits which is the recognisance and prospective licence to start their large scale mining, they then divide parts of their legally acquired concession into small scale mining and sell them to these Chinese illegal miners.”

Explaining further, he indicated that, “Each small scale mining is 25 aches of land and in all, they could get a total of about 100 small scale mining and when they sell each one to the Chinese from $50 to 100,000 per land, within four to six months, they [large-scale mining companies] gain about five million dollars because they do not pay tax thereby robbing the state”.

He backed the three weeks ultimatum given by the Minister of Lands and Natural resources John Peter Amewu to ‘galamsey’ operators to stop their activities or face the rigour of the law.

He has also urged the ministry to revoke the licence of “these nation wreckers” who are the large scale mining companies in order to do a thorough investigation on the sale of their permits to illegal miners since that will be the best place to start the course of abolishing ‘galamsey’ in Ghana.

This comes after experts at the Ghana Water Company warned of the country’s risk of importing water for consumption if illegal mining activities are not stopped.

Source: modernghana.com

Galamsey: Fighting The Undying Witch

By: Gordon Offin-Amaniampong

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong examines
What did our governments clamp down in the past and were able to sustain it?

Is it illegal logging by loggers? Is it squatters at Sodom and Gomorrah or those around Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra? Is it power cheaters who indulge in illegal power connection? Is it cocoa smuggling in our country’s borders by smugglers? Is it vigilante groups who’re constantly terrorising people? Is it the activities of land guards? Or is it middle-men who swindle prospective travelers trying to obtain passports?

The irony is that all of them have bounced back—operating vigorously. Their activities seemed emboldened! Inhabitants of Ghana’s biggest slum, Sodom and Gomorrah are back: They’re back to where city authorities evicted them from, less than two years ago. The squatters and hawkers are also back in the streets.

And the key argument hasn’t changed: they must earn their daily bread. The Kwame Nkrumah Interchange Area which not too long ago had a make-over is relapsing —going back to its ugly and insane state. In fact, on Wednesday some hawkers held placards amidst inscriptions like this: “We won’t leave this area today or tomorrow.”

The stubborn amongst them all is illegal mining operators also known as ‘Galamsey ‘in Ghana. Their activities in recent times have reached an alarming proportion. No doubt about that, they’ve stepped up their game. This followed the influx of the Chinese. I recall awhile back government deported number Chinese citizens who were in the country illegally.

Today, they’re back in their numbers. And together with Ghanaians they’re degrading and destroying our ecosystem. They’re poisoning and exterminating our water bodies. Our vegetation covers have been laid bare—raped and left naked.

They’re creating man-holes, producing sinkholes and setting up deathtraps. They’re as dangerous as explosive mines. Over the last 10 years it appears the operators have sworn an oath– basically to launch a deadly onslaught to our very existence.

Is this the land of our birth? Is this the land we swore to protect? Is this the land (the greenbelt) our forebears bequeathed us? Where did our leaders go? Where are they?

And whether it’s legal or illegal Galamsey has come to stay. That sounds crude or rather rude. But it’s the hard truth. Galamsey isn’t going anywhere at least not for now. Maybe not until the lands have run out of those much-sought-after minerals. Until the gourd is down empty or tanked the drunk knows no stop.

Backed by invisible hands they have succeeded in growing not an ordinary roots but giant roots, making it hard for authorities to deal with them.

But what is Illegal mining?
Writer Phillipe Dozolme defines illegal mining as: “The absence of land rights, mining licence, exploration or mineral transportation permit or of any document that could legitimise the on-going operations.”

It can be operated on the surface (open cast) or underground. It’s illegal because in most countries underground mineral resources belong to the state. The latter applies to Ghana too, but Galamsey has trespassed that. I must note there’d been crack downs on illegal mining in the past but all to no avail.

Question is: Are we at our wit end?
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu announced recently that he’d placed a moratorium on licences for small-scale mining. This is part of activities to halt illegal mining operation in the country. The move, the sector minister also indicated was to help ensure saneness in the environment.

”I have not signed a single small-scale-mining licence, since I assumed office. This is an attempt to sanitise the system,” Mr. Amewu said.

Indeed Ghana is fighting an undying witch. We‘ve picked up a fight which portends to be a lifetime battle. You may not like the way I’ve put it but that’s the reality on the ground. I normally don’t say things like that. I am a man full of hope, full of aspiration. I am an optimist and not pessimist.

Obviously, the conditions on the ground leaves one to wonder whether our governments had been waging these fights with kid’s gloves or they’d condoned and connived with the operators or they didn’t have long-term strategies or plans to do so. It could be that we’re at our wit end.

Remember the father who brought his demon-possessed son (Mark 9:14-29) to Jesus’ disciples to be healed? They’d no idea what to do and how to fight the demon. They lacked the firepower. Bottom-line they couldn’t do it. Jesus rebuked them after healing the boy.

I felt I had been wounded twice or three times this past few days. The images I saw—the photos and the videos on social media platforms grieved my heart. I couldn’t understand what’s going on. I struggled to make sense out of all that–the degrading state of our ecosystem is so graphic. It looks so atrocious so horrible and so terrible.

The activities of these miners are out of hand. Sad though, we have to come this far to realise that we’re losing or have lost something that is so precious. It’s so sad our leaders couldn’t stop it at its nascent stage. It seems to me it was business as usual and politics at its best. It seems to me they went to sleep whilst the busy bees got busy to degrade, to destroy tad to pillage that which our forebears fought graciously to possess and passed it on. And perhaps what‘s left now is misery and hopelessness.

World Bank report on Ghana had indicated, by the end of 1995 the total hectares of the land destroyed through the activities of Galamsey were approximately 150,000 hectares. That was then, over 20 years on the acclivities of illegal mining have picked up like never before .Thus your guess could be my best bet.

Between 1994 and 2001 a study discovered that there were five major cyanide spillages and leakages. Five rivers in the Prestea area in the western region of Ghana suffered greatly’.

Last March, Minister of Environment Science and Technology Dr. Frimpong Boateng kind of raised the threat level. Whilst meeting staff of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) during a working a visit in Accra Dr. Boateng hinted that our water bodies were under siege. He said the country risk losing the very existence of these precious water bodies if radical steps are not taken to resuscitate their lives.

“We know that our rivers are dead, some of them …Some of the rivers are dead—Offin, Ankobra, Pra, Oda, there’s no fish in them, in most part of the rivers. And when you find animals and fish dying from our empty forests and dead rivers it is only a question of time that it will reach the human beings,” Dr. Boateng said.

According to the sector minister if we don’t change our negative practices we would literally kill these rivers prematurely. “We have to change our attitudes there must be a change like President Akufo-Addo said. We should not be spectators but be active participants.”

“If you look at what is happening to the environment, it is something like a self-inflicted injury

Certainly the danger has become imminent, so disturbing that if stringent measures are not taken we would end up as sore losers. The country that once boasted of its virgin forests, safe water bodies, rich soils, beautiful vegetation, and the picturesque landscape is gradually losing it all by the day. The ecological damage has been great.

Bittersweet
In Africa, Ghana is the second largest gold producer contributing to about 5.7 per cent of the country’s GDP. And the activities of illegal mining have tremendously contributed to the growth of the economy. The jobless youth have found jobs, crime rate has gone down. However the environmental impact of their activities is unparalleled. Galamsey depletes environmental resources such as water; soil, landscape, vegetation, the ecosystem among others.

Also lives had been lost over the period and we’re still losing lives. In November 2009 a collapsed occurred in an illegal mine in Dompoase in either Ashanti/Western region. At least 18 workers were killed including 13 women who worked as porters for the miners. A similar incident occurred at Kyekyewere near Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Central region.

Solution
Perhaps the solution to this cancerous problem rests in the bosom of the new administration’s ‘One-District-One-Factory across country mantra. It’s a long term project, but if implemented they would go a long to help bring the activities of illegal mining down. Remember, when there was Aboso Glass Factory, when there was Kumasi Jute Factory there was no Galamsey but there was gold. When there was Nsawam Cannery Factory, the Komenda Sugar Factory there was no Galamsey gold was there. When there was the Bonsa Tyre Factory, the Bolga Meat Factory and the Tomato Factory at Wenchi there was no Galamsey but there was gold.

As a people our problem has always been not providing alternative measures. And not being proactive but reactive. You don’t evict the Sodomites and the Gomorrahites if you haven’t made any provisions for them. Then when you provide the alternative, ensure the laws are implemented to the letter. That’s the way to go…Don’t blame me, if you can’t make the dogs bark and bite.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Water Resources Commission Advocates Reuse Of Treated Waste Water

By: Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor

The Water Resources Commission is advocating for the reuse of treated wastewater that are mostly generated from companies and household activities into safe water for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes.

Speaking at a news conference in Accra on the effects of wastewater disposal on aquatic biodiversity, Adwoa Darko, Chairperson of the Planning Committee of the World Water Day said it is about time focused is directed at reducing the pressure mounted on fresh water.

Marking this year’s World Water Day on the theme, “Water and Wastewater,” she noted that fresh water can be conserved to reduce pressure while wastewater can be regenerated and treated for other beneficial use.

“It will help in solving our waste management problems and reduce the incidence of cholera and other water borne diseases if we are able to harness these waters that we deemed waste,” she intimated.

Mrs. Darko posited that Government commitment in establishing a sole ministry for Sanitation and Water Resources is a demonstration of its resolve to support this effort holistically.

“I am also seeing that there is going to be a policy direction in that regard for us to look at wastewater as a resource that can be generated and treated for reused for every home and company in the country,” she stated.

Obiri Samuel, Senior Research Scientist, CSIR-Water Research Institute indicated that it is important that we take a second look at the wastewater we generate and how best we can treat it to reduce it effect on the natural environment.

He noted that water stressed countries such as Singapore and the rest have adopted this approach towards solving their acute water problems by reusing their wastewater.

“We need to first of all start looking at the right policy frameworks that will operationalize this system to allow people and companies to invest in technologies that will support the new approach in the country,” he stated.

Mr. Samuel emphasized that the system, when implemented will help the hospitality industry, households and companies which uses enough water to regenerate it for flashing of their water closets whiles preserving and conserving the fresh water for other purposes to cut down bills on water supply.

According to him, the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a global scientific body that was set up to advice the United Nations on matter relating to climate change has made recommendations.

He added that their recent assessment shows that 12 countries in West Africa will be limited to 1000 meter cube of water by the year 2020 and Ghana is not an exemption.

 

Source: Modernghana.com

ECREE trains artisans on cook stoves construction

Accra, April 7, GNA – The West African Clean Cooking Alliance (WACCA) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) has trained artisans in Ghana on institutional cook stoves construction.

The training is aimed at empowering artisans, producers and manufacturers in new and innovative ways of constructing clean cookstoves in the ECOWAS sub-region to achieve WACCA’s objectives of bringing clean, safe and affordable cooking energy solutions to the entire population by 2030.

It brought together cookstoves artisans from Anglophone West African countries, including Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana and was organised in collaboration with the Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GHACCO) in Accra.

Mr Bah Saho, a Programme Officer of ECREE told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that about 80 percent of the people in the ECOWAS region still relied on traditional biomass as their primary cooking fuel, hence the need for the workshop to access critical energy situation and the way forward.

He said in some West African countries, biomass based fuels (firewood and Charcoal) represent more than 90 percent of the households’ energy needs, especially in rural and peri-urban areas.

He said the prevalence of biomass based fuel for cooking using inefficient stoves such as the three stone fire had been identified as one of the leading causes for deforestation, which

was the main drivers for climate change.
Mr Saho expressed regret that the use of traditional cookstoves also contributed to over four million premature deaths per year globally, adding that, mostly women and children bore

the burden of cooking due to indoor-air pollution.
”To address these challenges, ECREE was committed to ensuring the promotion and installation of clean and efficient cookstoves for households and institutions and support to artisans, producers and distributors to able to reduce fuel wood consumption and health risk associated with it.” He said.

Mr John Yeboah, A Coordinator of WACCA, said ECREE and its partners launched WACCA initiative in October 2012, to support wide distribution of efficient, affordable, sustainable and safe cooking fuels and devices to the ECOWAS population.

He said the training was designed to enable the participants to see the possibilities out there using modern innovation in cookstove production as a case study and living proof of success

in the industry.
Mr Lovans Owusu-Takyi, a participants from the Institute for Sustainable Energy and Environmental Solution (ISEES), told the GNA that he was impressed with the practical skills, designing and construction of cookstoves that used palm kernel chaff and firewood for cooking in institutions.

Mr Tapsir Ibrahim, from Sierra Leone, also told the GNA ‘we learnt a lot of improved and innovative designs of institutional firewood stoves that will be useful for schools in the rural

areas.
”I hope to go back to promote these innovative stoves and facilitate its installation for my people,” he said.

 

Source: modernghana.com

UN Statistical Commission encourages Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism

The 48th Session of United Nations Statistical Commission has supported the UNWTO-led initiative of developing an international framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST). The initiative, being implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Statistics Division, aims to develop a new statistical framework for tourism — one that integrates the various dimensions of sustainable tourism (economic, environmental and social) and across relevant levels (global, national and subnational).

Overwhelming appreciation was expressed to the work of the UNWTO Committee on Statistics and TSA and the Working Group of Experts on Measuring Sustainable Tourism, which is leading the development of the new framework. The Commission encouraged the development of a Statistical Framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism as a priority to support more integrated policy in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in response to requests from Member States and various stakeholders.

It also highlighted the importance of linking the TSA to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA), the elaboration of a TSA Compilation Guide, and the need to enhance capacity building for measuring sustainable tourism, notably in compiling TSA.

Established in 1947, the Commission gathers Chief Statisticians from Member States and is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities. The last time that the Statistical Commission discussed a UNWTO report was in 2008, when the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) framework was approved.

Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST) will be the central focus of the 6th International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism, to be held in Manila, the Philippines, 21-24 June 2017.

The Manila Conference is an Official Event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017 and will be a landmark opportunity to discuss methodological advances, explore emerging issues and learn from pioneering country experiences. A Ministerial Roundtable will kick-start the Conference to underline the importance of measurement in better understanding the role that sustainable tourism plays in fostering economic growth, social inclusiveness, and the protection of cultural and natural assets.

 

Source: modernghana.com

EU partners with Ghana to improve fisheries sector

By: By Lydia Asamoah

GNA Accra, April 7, GNA – A European Union funded project dubbed, ‘Ensure Greater Environmental Sustainability and Social Equity in Ghana’s Fishery Sector, has been launched to help promote food security and improved livelihoods in the sector.

The project would also help in reducing illegal fishing activities and promote participatory co-management of fisheries.

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), a UK based non-profit organization working to protect the environment and defend human rights is partnering Hen Mpoano, a non-profit organization based in Ghana to implement the three-year project.

Ghana’s fisheries sector is a significant contributor to the economy and is the main source of income for millions of people.

About 70 per cent of Ghana’s fish catch comes from the small-scale artisanal sector, but overfishing, illegal fishing and poor management are threatening the long-term sustainability- hitting these small-scale fisheries the hardest.

The project seeks to empower small-scale fishers to secure their tenure rights, implement a co-management approach to fisheries, combat illegal fishing and promote alternative livelihoods as a means to reduce dependence on the fishing sector.

Mr Kofi Agbogah, Director of Hen Mpoano, said the project would be implemented in 10 districts within the Central Region and the Volta Estuary where, fisher folks would be engaged in ways of improving good fishing practices while supporting efforts towards the eradication of poverty and hunger within these communities.

‘It is important that we empower these communities and ensure that their voice is heard as artisanal fishers have a vital role to play if we want to retain the sustainability in the fishing sector. We need to secure these communities’ tenure rights, and ring fence their traditional fishing activities against external aggression such as urbanization or other economic activities’

Mr Agbogah said the Fisheries Commission would as usual give the necessary support as stakeholders get ready to prepare the action plan that would guide the implementation process.

Mr Antoine Rougier, Country Coordinator of EJF, commended Ghana for its efforts in tackling the unsustainable and illegal fishing practices that has far too long plagued the sector.

He said statistics shows that West Africa has the highest rate of illegal fishing practices in the world and that Ghana was also losing so much money to illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing and this contravenes international law on fishing.

Mr William Hanna, EU Ambassador, said a total of 1.9 million Euros is being given as a grant to support the project.

He said a few years ago, ERU was worried about how fishing was being done in Ghana and so it issued a warning for the country to regulate its fishing activities before it could export fish to some European countries.

‘The good news is that Ghana has worked so hard and today the EU is here to help ensure the sustainability of the fishing sector’, Mr Hanna said.

Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, in a speech read on behalf, commended all the stakeholders in the effort that would ensure improved management of the fishing sector.

She said co-management in fisheries would enable responsibility of the resource to be shared between user groups and the government, and opportunities would be created for both the community and government to be involved in decision-making, implementation and enforcement processes.

She said government was working with other partners to engage fisher communities to participate in the co-management of the fisheries resources.

‘Under this, volunteers in pilot communities-cluster within the Greater Accra Region are being trained and equipped to undertake education and sensitization of their community members on the fisheries laws, report and assist in the prosecution of fisheries infractions, conduct lake and land patrols and also to undertake registration of canoes.

‘Other co-management arrangements to institute rights-based approaches in fisheries resource management are being piloted under the West Africa Regional Fisheries programme in some communities in the marine and inland areas’.

Mrs Quaye thanked the EU for assisting Ghana in achieving sustainable fisheries management through the implementation of the EU regulation on IUU while assisting the country to strengthen its capacity in fisheries governance and effective monitoring, control and surveillance.

She said the assistance has also enable Ghana to develop the National Plan of Action to combat IUU, the National Marine Fisheries Management Plan and the amended sections of Fisheries Act 625 and Fisheries Amendment Regulations L.I 1968 to incorporate deterrent penalties for IUU offences.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Chinese Mission angry over galamsey reportage, calls for fairness

By: Jonas Nyabor, citifmonline.com

 

The Chinese mission in Ghana has expressed anger at the manner in which Ghana is dealing with the issue of illegal mining and has criticized the media for targeting China in their reportage on the matter.

The mission in a letter addressed to John Peter Amewu, Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, the mission said if nothing changes about the nature of campaigns against illegal mining in the country, bilateral relations between Ghana and China would be affected.

It said it was concerned about, “a number of distorted or biased reports and stories on Chinese people, especially some reports and cartoons that are defaming Chinese leaders and senior officials,” in the media concerning the incident of illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.

The mission in the letter sighted by citifmonline.com called on the government to pay attention to the situation which is suggested sought to paint undermine China.

“The Chinese side is very concerned about this unhealthy tendency. We hope that the Ghanaian government will pay due attention to this situation, take the necessary action to stop such things from happening again and guide the media to give an objective coverage on the illegal mining issue so as to create a good environment for further development of our bilateral exchanges and cooperation.”

Campaigns against illegal mining in the country have in the last few months intensified with Citi FM championing a #StopGalamseyNow campaign that is gaining momentum, rallying various stakeholders to address the menace which has left devastating effects on the country’s environment.

Evidence from media reports and CSOs, including police arrests suggest the high involvement of Chinese in the activities, but according to the Chinese mission in the country, its [Chinese] government attaches great important to the illegal mining issue and is firmly against the involvement of Chinese in illegal mining issue in Ghana.

Chinese illegal miners arrested
The mission said was taking measures such as source control and persuading Chinese miners to go back to China and urging Chinese nationals to conduct legal business in Ghana to support Ghana’s fight against the menace.

It also said the government must guide the media to ensure they do not publicize defamatory stories against Chinese leaders.

“We sincerely hope that the Ghanaian government shall take responsibility of guiding the media and requesting them not to publicize such defamatory reports or stories against Chinese leaders officials and the Chinese government.

This will help create a sound environment for our joint efforts to address this issue and the continuous development of our bilateral relations,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has given illegal miners a 3-week ultimatum to quit their operations.

The sector minister has given assurances that he will lead a task force to arrest illegal miners and destroy their equipment after the ultimatum.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Gov’t slashes fertilizer prices by 50%

By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/Pius Amihere Eduku, citibusinessnews.com

Government has reduced the prices of fertilizer by fifty percent.

This according to government is to motivate farmers to increase crop yields and also pave way for more exports.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture revealed that the price of compound fertilizer (NPK) which was GH¢85 in 2016, is now selling at GH¢ 57.50 pesewas.

The Ministry also revealed that the price of urea is currently selling at GH¢47.50 pesewas instead of the GH¢80 it was previously been sold at.

“Organic fertilizer will be GH¢15 flat. What it means is that the 57 cedis represents 50% reduction as the subsidy amounts to 50%. The cost to the government is Ghc115 per bag of 50kg for NPK which is the most common form of fertilizer. A farmer is paying only half of it, which amounts to Ghc57.50 pesewas.” Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said.

Announcing the reduction, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto said the move is part of measures to enhance productivity in the agric sector.

“In terms of comparison with last year, we hope that this huge reduction in price for the farmer would encourage more farmers to apply fertilizers so that we can raise the productivity on the farms this year.”

Farmers upbeat about 50% reduction in production cost

Meanwhile farmers have welcomed the reduction in the prices of fertilizers.

They contend that the development will increase their yields and reduce the high operational losses due to food rot.

The President of the Ghana Agricultural Chamber of Commerce, Philip Abayori also tells Citi Business News the reduction should help farmers save up to fifty percent of operational cost.

“The fertilizer was taking about forty-five and in some cases sixty percent of the cost of production. In that case, it hardly made the farmers competitive compared to their peers from across the sub-region.”

“The other good thing of this development is that it will allow more use of fertilizer among agricultural production to increase crop yields,” he explained.

Source: modernghana.com