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24.03.2004 Regional News

Some farmers allege their cocoa farms not sprayed since last year

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Katakyiekrom (B/A), March 24, GNA- About 23 cocoa farmers at Katakyiekrom in Jaman District of Brong Ahafo have alleged that their farms have not been sprayed against the Black-pod disease since last year.

Nana Gyan-Katakyie 11, chief of Katakyiekrom who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) alleged that the affected farmers, including him, had been ignored by the Jaman Cocoa Spraying Task Force and all efforts made by them to get their farms sprayed had proved futile. The chief made available to the GNA letters and petitions he wrote on behalf of the affected farmers about the situation to the Jaman District Assembly and the National Project Co-ordinator of the Cocoa Disease Unit.

"When some of the farmers, including myself, approached the spraying task force for the mixed blower spraying machine to enable us to spray our farms with insecticides that we have bought ourselves, this request was turned down for no apparent reason.

"This clearly shows that the task force does not want the farms of the affected farmers sprayed and they have not been sprayed up to date", Nana Gyan-Katakyie alleged.

He added that the task force had been quite unfair and partial in the exercise and said the affected farmers had expressed their displeasure and disappointment at the way the unit was going about the programme.

Mr. Johnson Asubonteng, the DCE could not be contacted but a letter dated October 16, 2003, and signed for him by Mr. J.B. Bening, District Co-ordinating Director (DCC) and made available to the GNA said "there was no agreement that he (Nana Gyan-Katakyie) should take machines from the gang members in order to spray the farms of the affected farmers.

"I wish to register my displeasure about how Nana Gyan-Katakyie has written on the issue and wish to advise him to stop such acts", the letter added.

When contacted on phone Mr. Francis Apumbora, desk officer of the Jaman District Cocoa Spraying Exercise denied the allegations, saying all the farms except about five had been sprayed three times by the task force.

He explained that the owners of those farms yet to be sprayed "never followed the regulations", being that they refused to clear their farms.

Mr. Apumbora said the task force refused to release the spraying machines to the chief and the other farmers to spray their farms "because we could not give the machines to untrained personnel"