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18.02.2004 Regional News

Spraying gang demanding passbooks before spraying farms

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Achiase (Ash), Feb. 18, GNA - The mass cocoa spraying gang at Achiase near Nkawie in the Atwima district is reported to be demanding pass books from farmers as a condition for spraying their cocoa farms. As a result, cocoa farms established about three years and below were not being sprayed because the owners cannot produce passbooks. Mr Victor Owusu, a concerned farmer who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency at Achiase at the weekend, said this development had become a source of worry to farmers in the area.

He therefore called on the Atwima district director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), who is in charge of the mass spraying exercise to clarify the situation to save the farmers from being deprived of the spraying.

Opanin Yaw Owusu, the 2002 Atwima district best farmer, called on the government to value cocoa farms before granting licenses to small-scale mining companies to commence operations. He said this would ensure the payment of adequate compensation to farmers whose farms fall within the concessions of these small-scale mining companies.

Opanin Owusu expressed grave concern about the nefarious activities of small-scale mining companies currently operating in the area, saying they were forcing some farmers to abandon their cocoa farms, even though the crop is the number foreign exchange earner of the country. He said in spite of the high cocoa production in the area, there was only one spraying gang doing the spraying and described the situation as worrying to the farmers. He called for the formation of an additional gang.

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