The operations of stone quarry companies is having dire effects on agricultural activities in the Awutu Senya District, Mr Joseph Odame, the District Director of Agriculture has stated.
He said “monster trucks” belonging to the quarry operators had converted farmlands into access lanes, while many farmers had been displaced by the impact of rock blasts in various communities.
“I must be sincere that the activities of stone quarry have really affected agriculture. Estate developers and community expansion are also taking part of the farming lands. And in all of these cases, the size of farmlands have been reduced,” he lamented.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Odame stressed the need to consciously support peasant farmers to succeed.
“Without food, man cannot survive. We want to make sure that their activities will not be disturbed,” he added.
As an agrarian district, Awutu Senya was the potential to feed a significant portion of the nation, citing the efforts of its farmers over the years.
“In 2020, out of the five national farmer awardees from the Central Region, three of them were from Awutu Senya. That shows clearly the potential of the district,” the agriculture director stated.
He said the district was making efforts to engage the quarry operators as part of measures to resolve the challenges.
“We want to have a win-win situation. These quarries have to get buffers which prevent flying stones from causing harm to people, the agriculture should also be considered”, he said.
Touching on some positive achievements of the district, Mr Odame indicated that government’s various flagship programmes had given agriculture some boost nonetheless.
“The Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Exports and Rural Development, and the Rearing for Food and Jobs have improved agriculture by giving our farmers access to cheaper agricultural inputs,” he noted.
In a separate interview, the District Director of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr Razak Ibrahim, warned quarry operators against any breach of the various standard quarry practices which he said was causing harm.
He observed that most of the quarry sites, contrary to the quarry regulations, failed to inform NADMO before blasting rocks.
“The consequences are what people come to report to us. Let the institutions know what you are doing so that we can protect your business and protect the people.
“I can’t protect your business when your business is killing people,” he said and further noted that many quarry sites lacked buffer zones, adding that “land owners are taking advantage to sell those portions to the ignorant public”.
He warned that defaulting companies would sooner than later begin to lose their operation permits.