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15.07.2019 Regional News

Over 2,000 Acre Cocoa Farms Destroyed As 1D, 1F Stir Controversy In Agona West

By Benedict Kweku Nkrumah
Over 2,000 Acre Cocoa Farms Destroyed As 1D, 1F Stir Controversy In Agona West
JUL 15, 2019 REGIONAL NEWS

Cocoa farmers in Agona Otsenkorang in the Agona West Municipality in the Central Region have appeal to His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo led NPP government to come clean and clear its name over attempt by a company which says the government has given it the green light to destroy their cocoa farms to pave the way for planting of Oil Palm Seedlings to feed One District One Factory situated at Kade in the Eastern Region.

According to the farmers, Kwaebibirem Oil Palm Company claim it has gotten the green light to destroy their cocoa bearing trees which have been their only source of income.

Assembly Member for Otsenkorang Electoral Area, Hon. Paul Okyem in an interview with newsmen claimed over 6,000 farmers have been affected.

" As I speak to you now, over 2,000 acres of cocoa farms have been destroyed all in the name of One District One Factory policy.

I don't believe H. E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo led NPP government will authorize anybody to destroy our cocoa farms in the name of One District One Factory policy.

We, therefore, appeal to him and his government to come clean over an attempt by some people or group persons who want to end our livelihood.

We have done everything within our means to protect our farms but it seems out best is not enough to get them intact.

The Agona West Municipal Assembly is refusing to listen to our plight. The farmers are really suffering. Poverty is at ascendency"

Hon. Paul Okyem noted that even at the General Assembly Meeting, the Presiding Member for the Agona West Municipal Assembly failed to address the issue when he raised it at the General Assembly Meeting.

" I want to once again appeal to His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo led NPP Government to come to 'Macedonia' and help us because we are in a distress situation here in Agona Otsenkorang and its surrounding communities

These farms are our livelihood properties and therefore cannot be destroyed like that overnight

Neither the Assembly nor the Company has negotiated with the farmers " The Assembly Member emphasized.

A 62-year-old widow Maame Efua Araboa whose 4-acre cocoa farm the company is using as nursery told journalist her only source of income was the farm that has been destroyed.

" Look at my age, when am I going to look for land to farm again to enable me to cater for my 3 children and 10 grandchildren? I have lived my life over the past years here in Otsenkorang. I have nowhere else to go and continue my life.

It's pathetic the way we are being treated in this part of the country. Is it because we are farmers and for that matter, we deserve to be treated like that?

Guantoahene of Agona Otsenkorang, Nana Kobina Bonda, noted that they have been farming on the said land on Tenancy Agreement with the Agona Royal Family of Agona Nyakron now Headed by Ebusuapanyin Kwame Nyarko over the past 70 years and above.

" Individual Farmers has it a Tenancy Agreement signed with the family and has copies accordingly. We give them their share according to the agreement which says that produce from the cocoa farms should be shared equally.

We are abiding by the rules and regulations governing the agreement so how can this oppression?

What saddens me is how they use police personnel to harass us in our farms. We cannot fathom how the Ghana Police Service could assign personnel to declare 'war' on innocent people who want to protect their livelihood property.

I have been arrested severally for protecting against this unlawful move by the staff of Kwaebibirem oil Palm company. They can't destroy our farms without our consent "

Opanyin Kobina Dawda and Maame Aba Kum, 68 and 72 years respectively share their sentiment over the issue and accordingly called on the government to relieve them from their presents predicament.

The Member of Parliament for Agona West Constituency, Hon. Mrs. Cynthia Morrison, however, denied Government involvement in the controversy between the farmers and the company saying it has no hands on what's happening in Agona Otsenkorang and its Surrounding communities.

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