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13.10.2004 Regional News

Tema livestock farmers appeal to Government

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Tema, Oct. 13, GNA - The Tema Municipal Poultry and Livestock Farmers Association (FBO) has appealed to the Government as a matter of urgency to intervene and stop Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) from taking over lands of the Pacific Farms in Lashibi. The owner of Pacific Farms, Mr Joseph Bonney, who is also the Regional Best Farmer, has been given a one-month ultimatum by SSNIT to quit the land.

At a press briefing in Tema on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Association, Mr Ellis Aferi announced that SSNIT had already sent bulldozers to the site, while their men were busily putting up structures on the land.

Mr Aferi alleged that the unwarranted sale of leased lands by the Tema Development Corporation (TDC) for dollars, was not peculiar to Pacific Farms, but with other farms situated at Golf City, Adjei Kojo, Community 22 and Community 25.

He said although the lease on TDC lands were expiring, they were renewable leases, and that those lands could not be sold to any other persons, without first re-negotiations with farmers on the lands. Mr Aferi alleged that members' petitions to TDC and the Tema Municipal Assembly (TMA) about resolving land issues and reviewing high ground rates had yielded no results, and felt it was high time, the Government intervened.

The Chairman expressed regret that, during such litigations, crops on about 19.5 hectares of farmlands were destroyed by chiefs to win sand, adding, some of the trucks which were used to carry the sand used TMA waybills.

Mr Aferi described the actions of SSNIT, TDC and TMA as "cruel and against ethical practice and international common sense". Mr Thomas Asaam, Farmer, who chaired the function, pointed out that farmers in the Tema Municipality had not been treated fairly as compared to those in other Regions.

This, Mr Assam said, had discouraged the youth from going into farming.

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