Eefects of small-scale mining on food production in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region

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Food security is said to exist when; all people, at all times, having physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. One critical element which guarantees food availability and accessibility and ultimately reduces poverty in any country is food production. Food production has been identified to exhibit a continuous improvement in the developed world while developing countries have been experiencing a reduction. This situation to a large extent has been blamed on a number of factors with the most recent ones being deforestation, land degradation, pollution of water bodies and other causes of environmental degradation and deterioration; mostly caused by small-scale mining activities. Such activities normally take place in rural communities where foods are produced. It is based on this premise that the research probes the trends of small-scale gold mining in the Amansie West District and the resulting effect on crop production and supply which is the mainstay of the people. The research made use of both primary and secondary data which were in qualitative and quantitative forms. A total of 398 respondents made up of 245 food crop famers and 153 small-scale miners were randomly sampled in additions to data from three key institutions which were purposively sampled and interviewed. Semi-structured questionnaires containing open and closed ended questions. Interviews guides were used to get the institutional data. The data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16.0 and Excel of Microsoft Office Application, 2010. The data was presented in tables and diagrams for easy analysis. The study revealed that there are no effective legal and regulatory measures put in place to control the activities of the small-scale mining in the district. It also revealed a reduction in the production of food crops within the five years period (2008-2012) as a result of the small-scale mining activities. These activities were identified to have negatively affected resources needed for food crop production such as land, water, natural Forest and active labour. It is therefore recommended that empowering the local authorities, provision of alternative job opportunities for the youth and ensuring institutional coordination among others will help control small-scale mining activities and its effects on food crop production.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE (Development Planning and Management),