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03.06.2009 General News

Urban farming under threat... As farmlands taken over for residential purposes

By Naa Norley - Ghanaian Chronicle
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Information reaching the Accra File indicates that urban agriculture is under threat, and many old people who farm these lands would suffer, since the lands have been sold for residential purposes.

Members of the Vegetable Growers Association at La, who poured their hearts to the Accra File, revealed that they had been farming the over 25 acres of land since 1928, and it was an inheritance from their forefathers.

Madam Patience Kai Martei, leader of the group, noted her husband was the one who started the farms before they got married in 1928.

She said the growing of vegetables has been the source her family livelihood over the years, and now that that her husband is bedridden, she and her children have taken up the family profession.

According to Madam Martei, during the past week they were on the farm with other members of the association, when they saw a Caterpillar grader approaching their farm with some foreigners believed to be from China.

According to her, they were told by a member of the La Dadekotopon Education Trust, name withheld, that the said land had been sold out, and that they are to stop faming and vacate the place.

Madam Martei said the farmers, numbering about 40, were harvesting their tomatoes, okro, maize and water melons, when suddenly the grader started clearing the land, and in the process, mashing their vegetables into the ground.

Lamenting, Madam Martei said a temporary silo for the storage of their farm produce was also pulled down, adding that due to poor nature of the roads, vehicles delay in carting their vegetables to the market centres, namely the La and Makola markets.

A visit to the farmlands by the Accra File revealed that the temporary silos had been pulled down, and bamboo sticks were being used to fence the land.

The vegetables have been buried the under the gravel, making it impossible for the land to be re-used.

The farmers have appealed to the government and the Minister for Food and Agriculture to come to their aid in solving this problem.

Madam Martei said the sale of lands in the neighbourhood was been very rampant, and called on the La chieftaincy administration to sit up and face the eminent looming danger

She said one Ateng, a tomato farmer, died of shock when landguards, believed to have come from Nima, trooped to her farm wielding cutlasses and sticks.

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